After first hearing a recording of Maasai music, I was enamored. I contacted the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian, but could not find any other recordings. Inspired by Alan Lomax, I decided to take what little savings I had from working in a record store to buy a plane ticket to Kenya. In a few weeks, I was living with a Maasai family in a mud hut in search of Maasai music.
My trip to Kenya was a transformative experience. I learned about Maasai culture, hitchhiked around the countryside recording over 300 songs, and even went through parts of the warrior initiation with my age-mates. I was hooked. I returned to Kenya many times thereafter, recording more music and slowly learning to speak Maa (the Maasai language).
In college, I played in local bands in Minnesota, including as drummer for the Minneapolis band Dance Band, as well as with my friend Alan Sparhawk (Low) and the late, great blues legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards.
I travel the world recording traditional music and combining it with pounding rhythms and string arrangements to create a unique cinematic sound.
Born in Minnesota to musical parents, I began writing and recording my own songs by singing into a little tape recorder at the age of 5. My family moved around a lot when I was young, giving me a deep appreciation for different cultures and music. This led me to study anthropology in college. I would spend hours in the college's music library with headphones on, listening to vinyl recordings made by Alan Lomax of indigenous music he had collected from around the world.
I now travel back and forth between Kenya and Boston. I continue to record traditional music from around the world. My compositions have been featured in television shows (BBC, SKY, NBC) and in commercials (Amazon Fresh, Subaru, Sony).
I am a passionate advocate for cultural understanding and respect for indigenous cultural knowledge, especially when it comes to care for the environment. I hope that my songs are a reminder that music can be a powerful force for cultural understanding and greater peace in the world.