Roland - Our Fourth Member

Written by Steve Wiles. Posted in About Us

Roland the Drummer

 

Roland, the mysterious fourth member of Skylarking

Why does Skylarking use a machine as its fourth member?

Rhythm is an integral part of the human experience from birth onwards: from our heartbeats when we’re born to the cycle of day and night, rhythm makes the world work.

Despite this, in most cultures of the Western World, it seems that melody and harmony have always been regarded as the pure, spiritual elements of music, with rhythm and dance being the meaningless or unimportant aspects.

Elsewhere, however, rhythm and movement have always symbolised and strengthened the bonds between people; which is why, in some societies, people affirm their unity by dancing together and in others, dance music is regarded by many as mindless pap.

Based on the rhythms of Africa, Blues was the genesis of the modern musical age, as much for its groove as anything else. From jazz, through Swing and Rock ‘n’ Roll, into pop and contemporary ‘dance’ music, it is the rhythm of the music that makes people tap their feet, clap their hands or get up and dance: not the melody.

English dance music has traditionally had a strong, identifiable melodic bias – to such an extent that, in some bands, all instruments are engaged with the tune. Skylarking believes - very strongly - that you don’t get people dancing with an interesting tune: you need a groove.

However, in a small 3-piece band such as ours, having one person playing percussion takes something away from the interplay of melody instruments which is a feature of our style – unless we resort to modern technology.

Using computer programs and sampling hardware, we have created our own rhythm section by selecting and combining elements that we feel enhance the melodies played by the 3 instrumentalists. As much thought goes into the backing tracks as to any other element of our arrangements; we hope these rhythms encourage you to get up, dance and have fun, while we enjoy playing – and playing with - the tunes.

 

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