Happy Labor Day! As summer draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on a monumental highlight for me, WALK TO THE BEAT, a rhythm and dance festival in Nyack, New York. I was invited to facilitate a drum circle that would culminate at the end of the day in Memorial Park. 75 folks strong came out to participate in the circle. Some people brought their own drums and others brought a cozy blanket to lay on and just listen to the grooves.
Last year when I completed the 21 Day Rhythm Challenge in the gazebo, I dreamed of playing in a field surrounded by people pounding their hearts out, singing, dancing and honoring their percussive spirit. On that day, it was pretty surreal to look out on Memorial Park and see all the people in a unified circle playing and leaning in. The drum circle was vibrating like a big tasty pot of soup with so many ingredients bubbling. Everybody brought their own spice to the party and it was my job to whip it up and stir the cauldron. It was a very proud moment for me as we took the park to a new level. We were a unified front on the great lawn.
A heartfelt thank you to Anna de la Paz and Heather Cornell, the two amazing producers of Walk to the Beat. Anna and Heather created a picture perfect day throughout the town. The pairing of artists and stages were super impressive. When you think about the talent that surrounded Nyack on that afternoon, it was just awe inspiring. I got a chance to meet and connect with new players as we walked up and down the block. We chatted and learned about our own creative passions. I met a bunch of tap dancers that came all the way from Canada to dance with us too. Nyack was like a big musical chocolate factory on July 26th. You felt the energy and the happiness on faces from everyone on the street including the performers, shop keepers, customers and anyone that happened to be in town that day. We were all swept up in a wave of excitement. I'm still giddy just thinking about it.
And isn't that what a great town is supposed to be about?? A soulful groovy town that's got a collection of amazing artists. YES, It was confirmed on Saturday, July 26th. WALK TO THE BEAT was a huge, massive success. It allowed Nyack to shine and gave every artist that performed on that day a true voice. It was a special day for Nyack and one that I won't soon forget.
The most incredible thing happened to me this morning. As I boarded the train in Grand Central Station a pair of Congas along with an empty chair were sitting in front of me. I sat there a bit puzzled and bewildered. Two questions flashed through my mind.... "Who's Congas are these? And, Should I play them?" As the subway door closed, a man hopped on the train like Superman and greeted everyone with, "Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen!"
His name was Q Dot Style and as the train departed 42nd street, Q proceeded to play the most beautiful and soulful percussion groove. As he played, he gave everyone on the train a history lesson on percussion and the origins of the Conga. Did you know the Conga hails from Congolaise in West Africa??? I know, pretty cool, right? This guy blew my mind on the train. The most amazing part was that NOBODY was paying attention other than me. Q was preaching the gospel on the art of drumming and percussion and nobody had a clue. (except me.)
I managed to capture the whole encounter on video.
Reminds me of a Nietzsche quote I recently heard, "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."
we hear you Q. . . Keep on playin brotha
Some collaborations happen in a flash. Completely unplanned and improvisational. Last Thursday, I had the honor of playing with Anna de la Paz, a Spanish Flamenco Artist that hails from Spain and now lives in Nyack, New York.
Anna is fierce. Anna is strong. Anna plays every note like it's her last with the fire and passion of a train rolling full speed ahead.
Oh, ...and she play's castanets !! .... I love this girl !
Djembes and Cajons surrounded by flamenco dancing makes a gorgeous combination of sound -- each instrument influencing the other. It was magic at the market.
Anna is also co-founder of Walk to the Beat, a full day event on July 26th, 2014. The event is free to the public, with percussive music and dance artists performing in venues all over the Nyack village.
To learn more about WALK TO THE BEAT please visit HERE.
It was an incredible evening at the Tribeca Rooftop Hotel. I was invited to play and help raise money for The Church Street School for Music and Art and I couldn't think of helping out a better organization. Church Street is all about supporting kids through music and creative art programs.
The Tribeca Rooftop is one of the nicest venues in New York City and Tuesday night the hotel was absolutely gorgeous and sparkling with light. As guests arrived they were greeted with auction items including Cold Play's autographed guitars and box seats to The New York Mets.
I dove into a blazing set of dance tunes after the silent auction.
Some crowd favorites included Madonna, Madonna and....more Madonna!
A couple of highlights for me.....
I played with a flamenco guitar player who you can see behind me in the picture above. He was amazing and one of the featured guitar instructors at the Church Street Music School. Another highlight was playing for Harvey Keitel and legendary ball player Joe Franco, whose kids both attend Church Street School.
I was honored to be there!
"As you swim up and down the river, enjoy the freestyle because what you do affects everyone around you." -Glenn Schloss
When I moved to Nyack 6 years ago, I heard people often ask, "Why doesn't Nyack have a drum circle?" Sure, there were a few local circles in the past, but the question and conversations continued.
For a long time, I've made it a practice to play each morning before all the hustle and bustle of life begins. It reenergizes me and allows me to express myself before all the chaos kicks in.
But one morning I thought, "Could I do this for more than just myself?" I knew I could, but who would listen? Who would show up? Who would jump in?
We have two choices; Embrace the unknown with open arms or choose to shut down when it feels uncomfortable.
I chose to embrace the drum circle and bring it back to Nyack hoping others would embrace it too.
First, I created the drum circle For Vibration up at my house as a monthly celebration. My wife and I left the front door wide open and encouraged people to dive in with us. Our mission was for people to uplift and awaken their mind, body, spirit and groove. The idea was communication through rhythm without ANY vocalized conversation.
Somewhat by accident and somewhat by sheer design, we created a brand new kind of drum circle.
And the experience left me forever changed.
I learned that,
I love to play.
I love to share my love to play.
I love to watch people join me who also love to play.
I love to watch people who didn't realize they could play, START to play.
Within a few months, For Vibration outgrew our home and I challenged myself to explore it and go further.
For 21 days , I played the djembe at 7:30am on Main Street in downtown Nyack. I called it The Rhythm Social Experiment, hoping to bring people together who knowingly or unknowingly, wanted to energize their day with positive rhythm.
After 21 days, people inspired by the rhythm social experiment asked me, "Where do we go from here Glenn?"
I responded by moving For Vibration to Memorial Park every Sunday morning at 10AM.
For the next 4 weeks, we played, celebrated and responded to rhythm in a way I have never experienced. Old friends, new friends, couples, singles, babies, parents and strangers united together in memorial park celebrating mind, body, spirit and groove. It was beyond a drum circle. It was beyond simple patterns and beats. It was truly epic. People vibrating on a deeper level as a community.
Unfortunately, on December 8th, as we gathered for our weekly event, For Vibration was shut down by the Police. It was a peaceful shutdown. We had to cease playing as we had no official permit and there were people in the surrounding area not happy with us.
But, I believe that the glass is half full, if not completely full.
For two months, we shook things up in a positive, soulful way and I think Nyack was better for the experience. People played their rhythms and looked each other in the eye.
They responded and respected one another through the silence and the chaos of the all mighty groove. (Without any I phone or android distraction.)
So, I can say with confidence that For Vibration is just beginning.
Although we were shut down in memorial park, For Vibration continues to embrace the unknown.
I celebrate and honor all of the people who came out to the house, on Main Street and to Memorial Park every Sunday to take part in For Vibration, The Rhythm Social Experiment.
To all the people who came out and said, "YES! I want to groove and express myself, and I will come out and play, even in the frigid cold." It is because of YOU, that my fire is lit up and makes me want to play even more and reach for the stars.
Thank you to the great town of Nyack. There is a certain smell, a certain taste in the community that is calling out for self expression and artistry. We all feel it.
Please stay tuned as For Vibration, The Rhythm Social Experiment embraces another challenge in 2014.
Remember, the rhythm is within all of us.
Peace Love & Magic.
Memorial Park, 12/1
"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
I learned about the metro north tragedy 5 minutes before we began playing on Sunday. It was devastating news. It hit me right in the gut. My friends and family take that train to work everyday and it was shocking to hear about the derailment. People going about their lives just hopping on a train, just another day...not realizing it was their last.
A reminder to all of us that we need to kick maximum ass while we are alive on planet earth. A reminder that we, as individuals and as a community are powerful beyond our wildest imagination.
Allow yourself to let loose and drive the life you were born to lead.
Be kind to one another and let's all try and help each other out.
We dedicate 12/1 to everyone on that train.
Listen to For Vibration Live, 12/1
Sunday November 24th
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
Sub freezing cold weather couldn't stop us on Sunday morning. Winter jackets and all, 17 people showed up to groove out the morning thaw and the weather was no match for the all mighty groove. Folks were out in full force in Memorial Park.
My mom was nervous. She said "Dress Warm son" So I did... I put on several layers of clothing and scarves before I headed out to the park along with a steaming hot cup of coffee. Super charged and ready to blast off.
About 5 minutes into the wave, I started sweating so I took off my gloves to get a better feel off my djembe drum. And it worked liked magic. In a matter of moments, the weather was behind me and everyone in the park was dancing, clapping, breathing, meditating, reaching for the sky.
The wind was howling at our backs fast and furious. So much, at one point, I thought the wind was going to blow me and everyone into the Hudson River. But every time the wind howled at us, the group leaned in harder with ferocious push back. The wind and the cold would not stop us from having the time of our lives.
We took the park to a new level.
On this thanksgiving weekend, I feel gratitude. May we all be thankful for the people in our lives that make us feel good. That make us want to jump up and down and scream and shout high above to the heavens. To the people that help put a sparkle in every step we take. I feel grattitude for everyone in the circle braving the cold weather.
Sunday is becoming a ritual and it feels like we are playing in my warm living room.
Next Sunday, we ride again.
Wishing everyone a magical thanksgiving weekend.
Listen to For Vibration Live,
Memorial Park, November 17th
The air was thick with a hint of ash and rain. The fires had been burning for 2 days up in Clausland Mountain and we were settling into a FOR VIBRATION. A classic Sunday morning none of us would soon forget.
Fewer people showed up in Memorial Park this morning but the chemistry between the players was above and beyond anything I've witnessed in a long time.
Greg blazed over The Tappan Zee Bridge with fire in his eyes. The man carries an arsenal of percussion second only to Neil Peart's 360 degree drum kit. This guy means business.
About 30 minutes into the wave, Raasti played a didgeridoo solo and the place exploded with rhythmic fireworks. Greg led Raasti into a wall of drones and sounds between his djembe and bucket cans for roughly 10 minutes. The didgeridoo was a catalyst for moving everyone in the circle. It lit us up. It fed the fire and we all responded in a state of complete mental absorption. It was a slow burn that turned into a hot smoldering cauldron of Molten Lava.
45 minutes into the set I am in a half conscious state surrounded by brothers and sisters jamming, singing and dancing over an onslaught of drums, didgeridoo and percussion. I am completely dazed and bewildered by what is happening.
My mother and father were on the outside of the circle with us vibing every step of the way. The circle had sucked them both in like a vacuum cleaner and by the final moments, Ellen and Artie were wailing with tambourines and shakers in hand.
I began singing to my mom and dad and I remember thinking at one moment, just sing your ass off and tell them how you feel. Two of the most treasured and beloved people in my life. Completely raw and emotionally naked singing and dancing and shouting at the top of my lungs, "Mom and Dad! I want to thank you I want to thank you I want to thank YOU!"
I am surrounded by an all star cast of players with equal parts rhythm, heart and an introspective awareness and appreciation for each other and for the moment. In a world of constant distraction what a gem to experience total presence.
The pulse hit us hard like a ton of bricks on Sunday. We all knew it.
We were officially in love.
In love with the groove, in love with the song, in love with each other, in love with the great town of Nyack, in love with the gazebo, in love with every single atomic cell emanating from all of us and, in love with the thought of next Sunday.
Check out Spreaker to download Memorial Park 11/17/13
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
"If you build it, they will come."
Field of Dreams
I vowed to bring the groove into Memorial Park after the 21 Day Challenge.
I didn't know who was going to show up for the event and I thought worst case, I'll just get to groove with my wife and my kids solo, which is still pretty awesome. But, that wasn't the case.
At 10:06 am, old and new friends started arriving and gathering under the gazebo. People were psyched to come out and play and let their light shine. Folks were smiling and greeting each other with great anticipation. I met a soul brother the night before from Westchester and he drove over with a 15 Gallon Drum to play with us in the park. 25 Folks in all, came out on a sun filled beautiful Sunday morning. It was picture perfect. I should also note, we were honoring and playing for a dear friend of mine who passed away last week, Jeremy Yuricek. A sweetheart of a guy who's heart was always pumping with creativity. Jeremy would've loved this circle and a dedication seemed very fitting for him. I think Jeremy definitely heard us because the wind was howling as we played all morning. My poor camera fell off the tripod twice during the event because of heavy winds (you can see it take a dive in the video!) But thankfully, nothing broke down and we captured some amazing footage.
I've been dreaming about playing in a field surrounded by tons of people with percussion. clapping hands and singing and chanting all day long. The gazebo was electric, operating at full capacity.
As we set up the gazebo, you can hear the beautiful sounds by incredible sound artist, Jonathan Goldman.
To all the good folks in Nyack and everywhere,
Thank you for showing up and bringing your spirit, your creativity, your beats, your dance moves, your candles, incense and your good energy. Thank you for making Sunday morning special.
I've been spreading the word in town and I appreciate everyone letting their friends and loved ones know about FOR VIBRATION.
We've got something really amazing here. And, this is just the beginning.
Memorial Park, Next Sunday, 10AM
For Vibration has officially landed.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."
By far the coldest day in the square and I was feeling the chill. But as I played, I forgot about the cold weather and dove head first into a warm groove. Yes, today we locked the most joyous, spontaneous, soul groove.
I didn't think the pocket could get any stronger than yesterday's gathering, but today was a whole new level of spirit and camaraderie. There was an energy on Main Street like none other. The busses, seagulls and pedestrians were out in full force. The players accomplished something special and everyone knew it. We came ready to play and celebrate 21 Days. It really felt like a marathon and we were on mile 26 coming into the homestretch.
I felt a ton of emotions as we completed our final day in the square. Happy, proud, tired, overwhelmed, relieved and exhausted. But mostly what I felt from the 21 Day Rhythm Social Experiment, was inspired.
I created this 21 day challenge for myself. The challenge to wake up every morning and commit to playing 15 minutes everyday at 7:30am. But I quickly realized the challenge was not only for myself, but for the entire Nyack community. In some small or big way, people felt compelled to come down and play with me or just watch and listen.
They took a moment out of their day to become a part of The Rhythm Social Experiment. That was one of my goals. To connect and plug in with myself and for the people in Nyack to connect with each other out on the street.
I've been living here for 7 years and I have never seen anyone play djembe in the gazebo.
I've been scratching my head all this time wondering why nobody played in the square? It is the most beautiful, chill place to relax and listen to the sounds of downtown Nyack.
So where do we go from here?
I want to create a space for people to land and redirect their week. A place for people to let loose, express themselves and gather with rhythm, community and spirit. Which is why I plan to create a For Vibration Drum Circle in Memorial Park beginning this Sunday and every Sunday thereafter at 10AM. The great town of Nyack needs a drum circle. The time is now and I hope you will join me and help spread the word. My goal is to have at least 200 folks join up and play together in Memorial Park by this summer.
I will keep playing and recording our drum circles as they evolve into the most beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring and mind blowingly unique events. I truly believe in my heart this could be one of the biggest and most outrageous drum circles in North America. I do believe the time is now. Everyone has rhythm and I am on a mission to prove it.
Until then, keep your light shining. And remember -- anything is possible.
I'll see you out in the park.
The 21 Day Rhythm Social Experiment,
Thank you All.