Rabo de nube/Chilean Sunsets Rhythm Road #17

7 06 2010


TomTom Shoot

11 01 2010

TomTom magazine is about Drums, Art, Women, Music, Style, & Culture.

Mindy Abovitz –  Creator/Editor


Teri Duerr, Producer, Horse+Dragon NYC www.horsedragon-nyc.com

Meg Wachter, Photographer  – www.megwachterphoto.com

Seong-hee Park, Makeup – www.seong-hee.com

TomTom Theme #1 written and played by FraeFrae (thats me).

The BLACK Stripes (Drum Intro)

5 12 2009

Actually we aren’t really called The Black Stripes…. but I loved doing a duo tour through the South with my friend and fabulous guitar player, Ladell McLin.  We were somewhere in Florida here.  Can’t wait to do it again! Its Blues, Its Rock and its Improv.  I remember Ladell broke a string so he told me to play a solo to set up the next tune (Mona Lisa) to give him time to fix things.  My favorite part is around 4:14 when Ladell really digs in.  I love the colors and the overtones he gets out of his guitar.  I could play all day in that and never get tired because the energy is electrifying. If this tune is familiar it might be because it was used on Dog the Bounty Hunter (lol).

BigBig thanks Dave Hogerty for the video!

Greece! Rhythm Road #8

19 07 2009

We flew into Thessolinikki and boarded our new tour bus heading for the mountains of Northern Greece.

Mountains, lakes, Rivers, great food, and even greater people.  The love and support we received on this leg of the tour was off the charts.

Thankyou Antonis Varvatsoulias from the Foundation of Thracian Art & Tradition for introducing me to a ancient style of music called Rembetiko –  sometimes referred to as “Greek Blues” because of its expressive, improvisational, storty telling and healing qualities.

Antonis, your kind correspondence is very much appreciated.

This a part of a documentary made about the tradition of Rembetiko.

Rhythm Road #4 Oradea! Sibiu! Sanaia! So long Romania!

17 05 2009

Thankyou again Ruxandra, Emil, Peter, Julie, Lucian, Lia & Adina & Alexis!!

We will never forget you and your kindness.  Please keep in touch!!!

Excerpt from our blues rhythm workshop in Oradea.

Thankyou Alexis for filming.

The Doodle-lah

Eli Teaching the 6/8 groove feel

Please check out Eli Yamins bolg @ eliyamin.com/blog

Songs for Nina Simone

16 04 2009

Tamar Kali.  My girl. I call her T.K. Love her. (www.flamingyoni.com)

T.K. & LaRonda Davis.  DO NOT MESS with these sistas as they will out organize and outclass anyone before you can wake up and say BOO!

When T.K. calls me for a gig, I’m never sorry to hear her voice on the other side of the phone because she does it right.  I pretty much say “when, where, & what time”.    This one was sponsored by the BRC (www.blackrockcoalition.org – founded by Vernon Reid of Living Color currently being run by Pres. LaRonda “LaLa” Davis)

Concert Poster from one of France shows

Concert Poster from one of the France shows

T.K. – “Frae, we’re doing a Nina Simone tribute and I need you on drums.  Shows in France and Nyc.  All female performers and we will be picking up a percussionist there in France”

me & T.K. on plane

air travel. Not cute. cest la vie

Me – “cool.  When where & what time?”

I love Nina Simone, I really do.  She was straight up no joke.  I love how she sang, played piano, led her band, and DEMANDED connection with her audience.  As a drummer, I appreciate the way she manipulated the time in order to express the depth of emotion of a lyric or a phrase, or a chord.  I love how she was playful, sensual, vulnerable, cynical and sometimes tormented.  I love that she was a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and Jazz, and broadway…. and ALWAYS the BLUES!!!  I am where I am, in part, because of her activism. I consider her to be a role model and inspiration.  How could one not love a woman who as a child, refused to play her piano concert unless her parents were allowed to sit in the front row…seats they were saving for white people only???!   (incidentally, her family was seated in the front row)

T.K. on Paris show poster

T.K. on Paris show poster


from behind my kit

from behind my kit @ soundcheck


We did pick up a percussionist in France who was of Tunisian descent and coincidentally looked like me at first glance because of the curls. Her name is Narjess(www.myspace.com/narjesss) and she was wonderful.  She told me she stayed with Salif Keita @ his compound and recorded for two weeks with a group of percussionists.  I thought that sounded like such a wonderful experience!  She was pretty bad ass.

I shot this video backstage as Narjess was warming up on a table. (that is me with the multicolored ring)

We returned to NYC and did another sold out show at the Schomberg. This time we had the WONDERFUL Hanna Fox on percussion. (I heart Hanna Fox) www.myspace.com/babetheblueoxmusic

Also…the fantabulous filmmaker M. Asli Dukan (www.mizanmedia.com) & Producer Maureen Mahon & crew came along to document the experience moment by moment.  The documentary is forthcoming.

The unstoppable M. Asli Dukan

The unstoppable M. Asli Dukan

CLICK HERE to see Songs for Nina teaser

Apparently there are more shows in France scheduled for the fall.

I’m so psyched.

These are some of the kind of experiances I was hoping for when I packed one bag, my drumset and came to NYC on Amtrak with $600 10 years ago:)

Food for Thought….

8 04 2009
Food for thought

Tito Rodriguez, Mr. Celucci , Frae, Jeff Lo Davis, Mario Grillo

Paul Celucci coming into town is a beautiful thing because some of us from the Sabian crew can get together and reacquaint, or acquaint – and what could be more civilized than breaking bread?

I enjoy the stories and the sharing.  Jeff Lo and I geeked out over gear then went into musical philosophy.  I love how he used food words to describe is relationship with music. I thought it was poetic.  Jeff talked about his appetite for Bill Evans, or not being hungry for certain types of music anymore.  We both like Chakka Khan and Poogie Bell, and fusion hi hats for their sonic cut.  I like Jeff Lo Davis alot.

Mario & Tito told Machito Orchestra (http://www.machitoorchestranyc.com) stories that were just too much.  25+ years touring with a 16 piece band clearly yields much comic material.  Mario is Machitos son and the current bandleader.  He shared with me some group touring with gear pearls of wisdom which I welcomed since I will be traveling internationally with my own kit for the first time soon.  (I usually only bring cymbals).  My favorite story Mario told me about his father was that he could go on the road for two weeks with two shirts and one suit.  Mario explained that you get in the shower with socks, underwear, and shirt – soaping everything.  Rinse, hang, and BOOM they are fresh for the morning.  As for the suit..you fold the pants (with crease!) and place them under mattress so they are pressed for the next wearing, and the Jacket you hang.

We all skipped desert.  Nice hang:)


Paul Celucci is the man. (and he hates it when people say that)