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Guillermo Cides

 Stick  Stick Stick Stick

by Guillermo Cides

leer version en castellano

Is the Stick a  thing for men? 
The question that emerge when one looks at the statistics at some statistics listings from the first sight. However,and luckily,  women are begining  to be part of this community, for the relief of our souls which need the feminine creativity, as much in  music as in e daily life. 
Women have always modified things with their actions in events of
different musical nature in the world. From Janis Joplin till the
electronic mysticism of Bjork (without forgetting that historical song of happy
birthday of Marylin Monroe to her president). It is known that the Stick is still a new instrument of this time, and that it will take time until it is projected in its entire range. Even so, I am
convinced that we take part in a historical process that is beyond merely that of 
an instrument; our music, as that of new Stick artists, will leave
its footprint; together with the women-stickists.

At my concerts across different countries, I have had  luck to meet some of these first women of the Stick. One of them was Carrie Melbourne. Most of the stickistas know about this fruitful and growing artist. When I met her, she had recently  bought her first Stick whose previous owner had been Jim Lampi, her instructor at  that moment. Her presentations with different artists, such as Mike Olfield or Tricky, offered her the possibility of extending her bass player position, incorporating the Stick in her performances. With an excellent first CD, titled Indian Ocean, she heads the list of albums recorded by stick women. 
Our only musical meeting was at  a demonstration we made with Jim and Carrie for the Rose Morris music house in London, which was promoting the instrument there.
" - It is my favorite instrument. I thank a lot to Emmett, he invented an instrument that really changed my life. The Stick combines with any style. In our band we play a lot of rock with influences of the ambient music and world music...
" (The Global Bass Interview))

Who called my attention at  that moment was the argentinian Maqui Tenconi. The singer, pianist and stickista of a new  band called "Iguanas of sea", where they mixed instruments so different as a sitar,
synthesized guitars, a gamelan, tables, extra sharp voices, and the Stick. This artist, dedicated to the classical and ethnic music, published her first CD with this band where you can appreciate the Stick in an interesting sound context.
About the necessity of searching for new sounds and including them in different styles, Maqui says:
" - I believe that it has to do with the exhaustion of other tendencies. If you look through the history you will find that when a system was drained, it was replaced by another. At the moment, in the contemporary music, or in the classical music understood as contemporary, there is quite a work on this topic..."

In Italy, the stickista Virna Splendore presents her duet " SplendoRe " together with Roberto Fiorucci.
Virna, besides her musical talent, has a great organizational capacity as it is demonstrated by the seminars made by her previously in Rome, and her incursions on the Internet through a specialized web for
musicians. Her album "Guilty" shows an interesting and creative composition in each one of its songs.
" I felt quickly comfortable with the stick and I could mix my piano technique with the string instruments very easily. This made that the Stick were my instrument more than other."
(The Global Bass Interview)
Melina Von Hunefeld who shares her time between Argentina and England, was recently at our first Stick Seminar in Spain.
Patricia Gonzalez is an Argentinian bass player who found in the Stick a  possibility for expression. Once my student, her continuous dedication to  music transforms her into a curious instrumentalist who looks for sharing the music among the bass lines and the polyphony of the Stick.
She responds:
..." - I knew the Stick first by means of King Crimson and then through Cides in the  theater. It was so intimate and wonderful that I fell in love with the instrument at the moment. All the perceptions that I had in the head, like a bass player, about an instrument and about the rock in general, were gone to the devil"...
... - I don't believe that the Stick is a masculine instrument, but it is an instrument that requires a lot of coordination and concentration. I have discovered recently that I must have the thirst and the tranquility to be able to experiment with it, but it is an instrument that constantly generates images, and perhaps they are the images of our interior which want to be shown through us... and sometimes not."
" -As a goal and for my satisfaction, I hope to be able to offer the time and the dedication that it deserves, it is the matter of musical growth and internal opening that requires effort and discipline. To experiment with "before" and "after" of the Stick is a beautiful road."
"At this moment I study music at the Popular Music School of Avellaneda in Argentina, besides playing with a Tango quintet and in a Rock band.
A combination of poetry and mathematics ... listen to Linda Cushma, american singer and stickista, the leader of the band Oxigene8. She collaborated with the drummer Tim Alexander of the band "Primus", and they will soon publish an album with Oxigene8.
Irene Orleansky is a songwriter, singer and musician. She was born in Russia and started studying music at the age of 4. Both classical and pop music have always been an important part of Irene's life. She studied the classical piano at Moscow Academy of Music and the bass at the Studio of Jazz Music. In 1988, Irene, Vladimir Kruglov (guitar) and Kirill Malahov (vocal) founded a band Ra, where she was, initially a bass player and later also a singer. For four years the band played hundreds of gigs and participated in numerous radio and TV shows in Russia. The band took part in historical Russian rock festivals Interchance 88 and Interchance 89 where they appeared before tens of thousands of spectators. In 1990 the band participated in another famous Russian rock festival “Live Sound” where Ra won the first prize (recording at the best Moscow studio of that time), and in which Irene was nominated the best bass player. After the split of the band, Irene turned to classical music and started conducting a choir of Gregorian and Renaissance music. Irene moved to Israel in 1998 where she started experimenting with recording at her home studio. She recorded a single “Miss You” in 2000 in Bristol, England. In January, 2004 Irene’s old dream came true when she started playing the Chapman Stick. Nowadays, Irene is living in Israel and working on her new album together with Kirill Malahov, the producer of Music Brothers Records (Moscow, Russia), who is called by many The Master of the Russian sound. The album is expected to be released in July, 2004
New figures are beginning  to appear under the sun of  music. Two Americans incorporated to the world of the Stick, and they are: Jocelyn Garner (Left) and Jody Russell (right). We do not know too much of them, only that they were present at the seminars promoted by Stick Enterprises. We hope to have news on them soon...
On a web site that soon will be online you will find
"Chick with a" directed by the stickista Tina Adams.
But not everything is strings and women ...
In my musical curiosity, I also wanted to know about the thoughts of singer-women who were accompanied by a stickista. And for this reason, I interviewed CHISA, the front woman of a band called Stuck whose stickista is Pat Cahil. She told me the following:
"-I love singing with a Stick player in the band. We work extremely closely together on the material. The versatility of the Stick really supports the singing well. In a sense, it functions like a piano -- because the Stick is totally polyphonic, played with two hands and has a large range."
"The music is composed mostly on the Stick, and Pat (Stickist) is the main composer, so the sound is shaped in large part by the Stick (although I contribute to writing melodies on voice or piano and I write the lyrics, too)". "Pat uses the Stick in a pretty unique way. The kinds of chords he can play (based on 4ths, for example) would be very difficult on any other stringed instrument (like guitar) -- so this gives a very unique sound to the harmonic aspects of the songs.
Since Pat uses a midi Stick, the many synthesized sounds he gets also shapes the music in a unique way. Triggering synth sounds from a Stick is different from any other method (sometimes like piano sometimes like guitar) -- this also contributes to the uniqueness of our sound." "Since the songs are written on the Stick, they are shaped with it's unique-ness in mind especially. And I think they make our songs have a special and different sound.
Peace, Chisa".


Through the Stick Center, sometimes we receive questions of women who are musicians
interested in the world of the Stick. Maybe with an intention to encourage  the
future stick women, I decided to write this article in which the listing of stick women
at the present time is surely longer.
Evidently, the musical abstraction doesn't lie on the detail of the
sexual identity to be expressed, but in my own experience,
I have always found in the women who were devoted to the music a certain special inspiration
that came from a world ignored by  men. Maybe the
energy that moves within them is, at least for me, enigmatic and different.
I refer to the true intentions of musical creations of  women, and not to the
classic repetition of commercial models so common nowadays
(this has neither sex nor sense).
For that reason, from these lines I believe that
our small tapping universe needs the force of the creation of a woman.
What a coincedence, like in the origins.
G. C.

Some availables Sites.

Carrie Melbourne Official Web page (with mp3).

Virna Splendore Official Web page.

Linda Cushma Official Web page.

Chick with a Stick - Official Web Page of Tina Adams.

STUCK Band, Chisa and the stickplayer Pat Cahill

The Stick Center thanks Stickplayer's collaboration for this interview.
Translated by Matias Betty

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