Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Inspiration from Afar…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2010 by Kenley

Hey all,

So, I recently attended my brother’s beautiful wedding on the killer Hawaiian island of Maui and, I’ve got to tell you, it couldn’t have gone better.  There were many nights on the beach, many nights of relaxing with friends and many, many Mai Tais, but there was one night that really stuck out in my mind.

Kirk and Melissa (my brother and new sister-in-law) planned the rehearsal dinner activity for everyone on the Tuesday night, before the big day.  It was a luau in the coastal town of Lahaina (again, on the island of Maui) and, as cool as hula girls and coconut bras are, the percussionists were amazing.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them! They had instruments that I had never heard of before and playing these psychotic rhythms, really fast and in this really contagious groove.  A sampling of the drums… and the Tahitian dancing… is below.

One of my favourite instruments there was the pahu, which is a type of pitched log drum.  One type of log drum is below…

Very cool! The luau percussionist was incredible, but it was really the synergy between all of the drums, the dancing and the narrative that made this luau SO impressive.  It really makes me want to dabble more in island percussion – doesn’t matter which island, but Hawaii, Tahiti, the Polynesian Islands…

ALSO, the stories that accompany the music, like the colonization of Hawaii, the annexation by the US (positive or negative), the myths of the Haleakala volcano, or the stories about the islands before it became a tourist destination… like when Westerners would come to visit a friend, then get to the airport and then be unable to get on the plane, completely captured by the beauty and pace of Hawaii.  Everything, and everyone, has a story… and there’s a sort of historic poetry that takes place when one can capture that in music.

Speaking of capturing, special thanks to Winnipeg photographers, Jess and Jake from Kamp Photography, who captured the wedding and the adventures surrounding it with a heartfelt, comforting quality – some seriously awesome photography.  Make sure to follow them on twitter as well!

Now that I’m back, back to work, updates to follow!

Mahalo! (Hawaiian for “thank you!”)


First Post by Kenley!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 by Kenley

Hey everyone!

It’s Kenley here, from NDB Studios and the blog is finally up! There are definitely some things to work through, but it’s functioning and it’s a good time!

So, I’m Kenley and I’m the composer for NDB Studio Productions, here in Winnipeg.  While we can do all sorts of projects – film, live music, solo acts, commercial media – we really focus on New Media.  We’ve done quite a number of video games now for all sorts of consoles, including PC, Mac, iPhone and iPod Touch and we’re still having a blast doing it!

I live in Winnipeg, MB (Canada) and I’m a composer and music teacher.  I’m really into jazz (all types… I go through phases of what I listen to), music from video games, Classical, but Irish and Celtic music are really my weapons of choice right now.  I’m learning the Irish Whistle and it’s super fun – really intense stylistically… and really quick… but super fun.  There’s just something about Celtic Music… it’s full of texture, innate beauty and they are tunes known by the people, which I love.  It’s not about the audience, the pressure of performance or the formality of a lot of other Western music; it’s about kicking back at a session (or a pub), having drinks (or tea) with friends, then getting up to play some tunes.  Then, as you’re playing the tunes, there are children who Irish dance and they get up and dance as the band is playing! Everyone cheers and sings along and it becomes an all-inclusive artistic, but fun night!

But, even still, there are some tunes that can be played with a sense of unequivocal beauty.  Below is a video of Michael Wong playing Steve Baughman’s arrangement of “Fanny Power,” which is a standard air in Irish music.  It’s in Orkney tuning for the acoustic guitar, which is (from lowest to highest in pitch) C-G-D-G-C-D.  It’s just… magical, there’s something that moves in my heart every time I hear this tune…

Totally spell-binding.

Okay, that’s a solid little rant about Irish Music.  I will post more, as will Jeremy, as will NDB itself, so subscribe and stay tuned for updates!

Thanks a bunch,