Culture — July 21, 2010
John Wubbenhorst and the music of Facing East
Today is a little bit of a different day. As you can see we are not at the table. We are down low to the floor and that’s because I have a special guest, John Wubbenhorst, a dear friend and accomplished musician.
John welcome to The Blue OK. I poured you a green drink from Amy in the kitchen. We can toast. I know you are a fan. To all our viewers, Amy in the kitchen makes some really exciting raw food recipes. You should check them out, particularly in the summer, green drinks.
John Wubbenhorst: I like the ginger.
Scott Morrow: Excellent. So I’ve asked John to come into the Cafe today because I wanted him to play some of his music, and in a few minutes I’ll walk out of here and you can bring in your tabla player. But John I know you play all over the world. You’re a world class, world famous musician. I met you about ten years ago. You are a friend of a friend. And I went somewhere where you were playing and I was impressed–you were fantastic. You make really, fun is not the right word. You make contemplative music, music that kind of helps you relax. Music that makes you feel good. So I’ve always been a big fan of your music. And I just wanted you to tell the viewers here in the Cafe how in the heck you started playing fusion and became a world class flute musician.
JW: Well, you know the old saying, “follow your bliss”. So I never planned anything. I just loved the music. And I play music that I love. And so if find music that I love, I start playing it. And then I’m not really trying to get anywhere. Just having a lot of fun.
SM: We’ll, you are having a lot of fun. But you’ve produced a half a dozen CD’s.
JW: I think we have seven out right now.
SM: Seven CD’s, and the name of your band would it be called or your group is “Facing East”. And I want our viewers to go to your website, www.facingeast.com.
JW: That’s it. It’s a collective mix. I became very involved in the Indian music. I play Western flute as well. But at a certain point I really fell in love with bamboo flute which is the North Indian Bansuri. I went to India, just because I loved the music so much and I was very fortunate to meet one of the greatest masters of this instrument. His name is Hariprasad Chaurasia. If you know classical Indian music then you know who he is. Some people say I don’t know who that is. So I say, Well, do you know how Michael Jordon is to basketball. He’s just an incredible master. And I’ve just been very fortunate to meet him. I was blown away that he took me on as a student and allowed me to study. And I’ll be studying with him the rest of my life. So I play along with him every day.
SM:Fantastic, So he’s still alive. And he still plays flute.
JW: He’s still plays bonsuri.
SM: It’s a beautiful instrument. And your CD’s, they’re primarily contemplative music? How would you describe your CD’s.
JW: Well, of course, this bonsuri is what you might say is a contemplative sound. It’s a beautiful sound. Whatever you want to call it. But, you know the music is also very dynamic. We have tabla drums on some of them. We have South Indian drummers on some of them. We have electric bass. If you want to call to call it fusion or confusion. Whatever you want to call it.
SM: Facing East is the name of your website. It’s kind of an East/West fusion. I think that’s a good description.
JW: I find musicians I like to play with and we play and whatever comes out. I’ve made recently a lot of live recordings.
SM: Oh, great. And I know the reason you’ve in town is you are doing a benefit performance on Saturday night for the world friend, Adi Da Samraj. And I believe there was a hurricane at his home, his island, in the South Pacific, and a lot damage was done and you’re here to help raise a money. That’s fantastic. I’m going to be going to the concert.
I want the viewers in the Cafe to hear your music. So I want to know how you got interested in this because you are following your bliss, and you found a teacher who is still your teacher and you are still learning. But you are also giving concerts all over the world and you have CD’s. I really just want your tabla player come in here and we’ve got the cafè all set up here and let you play for a few minutes. How does that sound?
JW: Yeah, We are really fortunate. We have one of the finest young tabla players from India. Samrat Kakkeri. His is a beautiful story because he learned from his father when he was two years old–his whole life. When you see him the play the tabla is like part of his body. So we’ll play a little piece.
SM: Excellent. Well, I’m just going to take the green drinks and we’ll listen to you play.
JW: I’m going to have a little more.
John Wubbenhorst is Facing East.
This delightful CD is a blend of Indian music and western jazz with some tracks being more jazzy and others, more Eastern. Wubbenhorst is one of the most accomplished bansuri flute players in the world and he plays his instrument with great technique, feeling and passion. There are many other instruments on here as well. Great sounds of the tabla, sarod, guitar, piano, Western flute, and more . We frequently play John's music here at The Blue OK and this CD is one of our favorites.