The Blood Drum Spirit Global Jazz Ensemble, led by UMass Dartmouth Music Professor, Royal Hartigan, completed a video recording and performance project as part of his J. William Fulbright activities in Ghana, West Africa, during January 2015. The research and recordings focused on the musical, cultural, and spiritual connections between African and African American peoples. Each recorded piece was based on traditional dance drumming and was recorded in the villages that specialize in the specific musical style. The music connected traditional cultural drum and dance ensembles with African American Jazz, accompanied by blood drum spirit. The videography included many aspects of culture and life, such as pounding Fofo, fishing, weaving, caring for children, and social life.
The vision of this project is to honor the deep structures of African life and thought across the diaspora through music. Hence, the activities emphasized non-commercial, educational expression from the acoustic heritage of master drummers and ensembles and the Jazz history from Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charles Parker, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra.
The members of blood drum spirit have all studied traditional Ghanaian drumming and bring an openness to this celebration of African life and art.
Blood drum spirit includes saxophonist David Bindman, pianist Arthur Hirahara, bassist Wes Brown, and drummer/percussionist Royal Hartigan. More information on their work and sound samples are available at www.blooddrumspirit.com, www.royalhart.com/presskit.html, and www.youtube.com/royalhartigan