What is a “bard”?
According to Google, a bard is, “a poet, traditionally one reciting epics and associated with a particular oral tradition.” My definition is, “someone who celebrates the miracle of life through poetry and music.”
So, why do I use a medieval Celtic term to refer to myself and what I do?
Well, the short story is that I once met a woman who, despite not knowing me, had a vision of the music and poetry I was performing around town. She said it was like, “a bard,” which felt fitting. So, I adopted it.
The slightly longer story is that I have been inspired by the Middle Ages and all its motifs – castles, balls, cathedrals, a monk walking contemplatively through a field as the sun smiles upon his face – ever since my early childhood. Feeling such a strong resonance with those Earthy cultures and time period, calling myself a “bard” feels like home.
My poetry carries a mystic devotional bent. I like to write about the heart, about Spirit, and about the transcendental beauty of seeing the world through childlike eyes; what I call, “imminent mysticism.” My greatest inspirations are the Sufi poets, Hafiz and Rumi, who capture the essence of devotion so eloquently, and the Zen poets of Japan, who capture the moment in its utter simplicity. I have also been heavily influenced by the bardic writing style of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I have studied the polyrhythmic drumming of the Ewe, the djembe styles of the Malinke, the dumbek of Middle Eastern cultures, the dijeridoo of Australia, the Native American flute, the alto saxophone, and more recently, the Irish Penny Whistle and Armenian duduk. Being half of a first-generation American, myself, world music forms the core of my path.
I play with several bands and projects in the Asheville, NC area. (To avoid being redundant, I invite you to visit my homepage for more information). I most often play with the following types of projects:
- African drumming ensembles;
- Funk bands;
- Devotional or contemplative music events, like church services, meditations/sound healings, and kirtans;
- Children’s programs.
Life and work without children would be like life without water. I have taught drumming to at-risk youth and young adults, working for several years in a residential treatment facility and later in group homes. I have also volunteer taught in a housing project in Asheville, NC, and at a school in Accra, Ghana. More recently, I have done youth ministry which taught spirituality through story. and began teaching music to elementary school children, focusing on world music and indigenous cultures.