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Cape Breton International Drum Festival 2005
Part One: Performances
Tiger Bill Performs at Cape Breton International Drum Festival 2005
2005 marked the Fifth Annual Cape Breton International Drum Festival and I was honored to have been asked to perform. I had a real blast doing it. Here's the story in words and exclusive video clips. (All video and audio clips on this page require Windows Media Player. Don't have it? Click here for free Download.)
We Finally Get Together!
A couple of months later Bruce called to ask if I would like to perform at his fifth annual event. I not only played but, in keeping with my policy of bringing you exclusive video coverage of the best drummers on the planet, I brought along my trusty video camera as well! (Although I attempted to cover the event in its entirety, I could not get video clips of all performers involved. I apologize to those who were not included.)
It's A Family Affair
While I have performed at quite a few drum events over the years, I must say that Cape Breton is very special one indeed. Bruce and Gloria Jean Aitken treat their artists like family. It's a ton of work to put together an event of this scale and Bruce and Gloria Jean have done it consistently well for the past five years. They do it because they love music and drumming, and they love to see the look on the faces of the drumheads in the audience, especially the young ones, who are motivated by what they see on that one weekend each year.
Friday, April 29th: Sound Check
I have videotaped many performances over the years and I was looking forward to getting some good footage of this event to add to my collection. I did get the footage but I also got a bit of a surprise! While videotaping the show from backstage, and trying to remain as quiet as possible, a stack of papers suddenly fell on the floor. Seconds after that, my video camera seemed to fly out of my hands and (luckily) landed on my sneaker, which saved it from smashing on the floor. I chalked both incidents up to a sudden case of uncommon clumsiness until a couple of the locals told me about the Savoy Ghost, which is a friendly ghost that has been seen by numerous people over the years. Then I wondered. Was I being extraordinarily clumsy that day or was the ghost playing games with me?
Anyway! Here is a video teaser put together from the sound check. Watch carefully and you just might see the Savoy Ghost!
Saturday, April 30th: Day One - Show Time!
>> The historic Louisbourg Fife & Drum Troop opened the show with a cool rudimental exhibition.
>> I was next up and decided to open the show with something a little different. Check out the video excerpts and you'll see what I mean! I also demonstrated brush techniques, practical applications of the "Money" Beat, musical polyrhythms, basics of my Dual Speed Sticking technique - for which Mark Love, cymbal specialist from SABIAN, designed a prototype 16" hi-hat - thanks Mark!, etc...
>> Alessandra Belloni, a gifted virtuoso on the tambourine, was up next. She was joined on stage by Sergio Bellotti who accompanied her dance, vocal, and rhythmic performance on the drumset.
>> The Otarion East Coast Showcase featured regional drummers Matt Casey, Alister Hunston, and Simon Miminis.
>> Next up was First Nations drummer Keith Dawson Jr., who was originally scheduled to appear in an acoustic/electronic duet with Bruce Aitken. Although health reasons prevented Bruce from performing, drummer Skip Hadden sat in for him.
>> Bruce Aitken did, however, take the stage to perform with one of his gifted students, 12 year old Marcel Bourgeois and Keith Dawson Jr.
>> Motown legend Uriel Jones was next and played along with a few of the many hit records he has recorded. Uriel's cymbals didn't show up at the festival, so he wound up using my SABIAN cymbals. Turns out he liked them so much, that he wound up becoming a SABIAN endorser on the spot!
>> Studio/touring drummer and MD columnist Billy Ward was up next. He not only brought some great tracks to play along with but he offered some valuable drum tips taken from his new DVD Big Time.
>> Studio Legend Hal Blaine was presented with with the first Cape Breton Drum Festival Legends Award. Hal was unable to attend but sent the following recorded message, which includes a valuable warning about drug abuse.
>> Canadian drum star Vito Rezza closed the first day with an educational and very entertaining performance.
Sunday, May 1st: Day Two
>> Yvette "Baby Girl" Preyer, drummer/vocalist with Michael McDonald, discussed the value of learning to be a singing drummer and offered some cool demonstrations.
>> The East Coast Otarion Showcase featured regional drummers Joel MacNeil, McIntyre & The New Brunswick Percussion Ensemble, and Doug MacKay.
>> Next up was studio legend Bernard Purdie who is actually quite shy, as you'll see in the excerpts that follow.
>> Will Kennedy, former Yellowjackets drummer, was next up and played to some great tracks that showed off his chops and musicality.
>> Marco Minnemann thrilled the audience with a display of pyrotechnics. He even played along to a video clip from Monty Python's Life of Brian that had the audience going wild.
>> Dom Famularo, who has been the "Ambassador" of the Cape Breton International Drum Festival since its inception, closed the fest with a motivational message combined with his unique sense of humor, followed by an inspirational drum solo performance.
>> As per the tradition of the festival, all performers took the stage and played together for the grand finale that brought the audience to its feet.
Cape Breton International Drum Festival 2005
Festival promoters Bruce and Gloria Jean Aitken really do a fantastic job on their fest, which continues to grow in popularity and is now recognized as one of the premiere drum events in the world.
Personally, I had a great time in beautiful Cape Breton hanging with my old drumhead friends and meeting lots of new ones. I even may have met an actual ghost!
I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to become a part of the on-going tradition started by Bruce Aitken in 2001.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to the Cape Breton International Drum Festival, do yourself a favor and go! You won't be sorry. It's a top notch event. And don't forget to tell them the Tiger sent you!
I'm certain that I speak for all of the artists involved in the event when I say thank you to Bruce and Gloria Jean Aitken, Bixbie (the talking dog), and all of the many volunteers and sponsors who helped make this event possible and continue to do so, year after year. (And my personal thanks to all of the artists and to Bruce for permission to videotape the proceedings.)
I wish you all the best in the future.
Click the following link for Cape Breton Drum Festival 2005 - Part Two - Artist Interviews!
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