Raul d'Gama Rose
When you hear great music, be prepared to be touched in your soul.
I came to jazz just before I turned thirteen. Before that I was a student of classical music at Trinity College of Music, working my way up as a pianist and student of classical music theory. However, just before an exam (then known as 'Higher Local') my father took me to a Duke Ellington concert and my musical life changed forever.
However, success as a writer at sixteen--when I had my first book of poems published prompted me to pursue a writing career as well. Something had to give! So, forsaking a career as a jazz pianist, I decided to write--music as well.
Now, many moons--and three books--later, I have helped found a production company called Creative Music Productions, which has produced music for television. I've also written a years' worth of episodes for an animated children's television series--including three songs. My latest book is based on the life and music of Charles Mingus. This experimental work takes a life lived--the trials and tribulations--and Mingus' music--with its complex harmonies and challenging, abrupt changes in rhythm, and relocated it to the landscape of poetry. The book is due for publication early next year.
When Michael Ricci asked me to develop an exclusive column, I decided on a name--"Highly Opinionated"--and plunged into the deep. Sometimes the water is chilly, but I have never stopped having the time of my life with this exquisite publication.
Lately the focus of much of my research has been uncovering the close relationship between African and South American musics and the relatively undiscovered relationship with early North American folk, blues and worship music. I hope this leads to a book-length work at some point.
- Charles Mingus - Everything - and I have everything
- Duke Ellington - The Sacred Concerts
- Dylan Thomas - A Child's Christmas in Wales & Five Poems (on CD)
- Amiri Baraka - Everything I have on disc
- Kamau Brathwaite - DS and DS (2)
- Ezra Pound - The Cantos
- ...as much more of my favorite poetry and music as I can pack on a raft (without sinking it.)