Australian Drummer Simon Barker on his Solo Composition “Three Streams”

“Here in Australia we’re very fortunate to be able to experience numerous incredible drumming traditions developed throughout Asia and the Pacific,” says Barker. “And I really love trying to play the drumset in a manner that responds to those traditions. This performance, entitled ‘Three Streams,’ features rhythms appearing in Korean traditional music played in a way that’s influenced by sounds from the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

“I love the feeling of two or three rhythmic lines interacting. In ‘Three Streams’ I was thinking about trying to make music with two rapid interacting rhythm melodies performed on two log drums. Although I love to play these kinds of ideas on a regular drumset, it’s also great to play them on two exposed sound sources, and the log drums are such lovely, rich, melodic-sounding tones.

“Most of the rhythms played on the high tone, with the left hand, are variations of groupings of five or ten 16th notes, and many of them have their origins in Korean traditional music. The right hand is mainly playing ostinatos in 4/4 or 7/8 (on the lower tone). Throughout the piece there are little moments of unison to help transition between rhythmic ideas. In this performance I used the bass drum to bring elements of each melody to the foreground by accenting within the crotchet pulse (to bring out the right hand), or within the groupings of five or ten 16th notes to bring out the left hand melody and create a 5/8 feeling. Over the last few years I’ve been developing a large pool of these kinds of variations and have been really enjoying improvising within this multi-line rhythmic language.

“The rhythms in the 7/8 ostinato were inspired by ideas performed by Australian trumpeter Scott Tinkler.”

If you would like to explore some of these rhythms and stickings further, visit kimnara.com.au.