Pulse Q&A with Yeshe
German-born Yeshe came to Byron Bay 20 years ago and made it his home. After a stint overseas cracking the big time, he's back to play the Byron Bay Community Centre on Saturday. He talks to Pulse.
You were born in Germany, but have been influenced by African music. How did you first become interested in this style of music?
I was very fortunate to have met my first teacher, world-renowned master drummer Mustapha Tettey Addy from Ghana (West Africa) at the age of 12.
I managed to join one of his groups about two years later and by the time I was 16 I left Germany to start touring.
Since then I spent many years with various tribes in Africa studying music and absorbing their culture. Pretty much most of my musical training has been African-based.
Where else have you been over the years and how did the music influence you?
I have pretty much been all over the globe and always tried to absorb as much as possible of other cultures and musical styles.
Once I had a five-year stint in Asia when I used Japan as my base and travelled all over Asia studying several different percussion styles.
All of it seems to pop up here and there when I compose music. It's a bit of a cultural cocktail.
How many instruments do you now play?
I play a whole bunch, but these days I seem to concentrate mainly on two instruments.
The mbira dzavadzimu, a traditional instrument from the Shona people of Zimbabwe that consists of a wooden board that has around 12 metal keys, which are cold-forged from the sprung steel of a Peugeot car seat mounted on it, that I plug with my thumbs and index fingers.
And the kamele ngoni, a 10-string harp of the Wassoulou region of Mali.
Yes he plays the Byron Bay Community Centre on Saturday, October 29 at 8.30pm. Tickets $18/20.