Rock On students bring a wealth of youthful energy as drummers and percussionists in the student bands. We are pleased to welcome mentor Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles of RPI who will collaborate with drum faculty Chris Mattoon and Jerry Giguere to explore world rhythms with Rock On students this year.
Dr. Knowles has literally travelled the world absorbing cultures and rhythms over the last 40+ years. He has been a professor and an administrator but always found time to continue his music. Early on, at the age of 27, Knowles was appointed director of a college discovery program, which at the time was the largest program of it’s kind in New York City. Though he was also a teacher at the time, he was able to maintain his music career, tour with Earth, Wind, and Fire, and make an appearance on “The Midnight Special” on national television. Still, one of his great loves is being and educator and interacting with the students.
Today, in addition to many other endeavors, Eddie Ade Knowles serves as Artistic Director of Ensemble Congeros, which he founded in 2004. The Ensemble is a group of Rensselaer alums and current students dedicated to the study and performance of Afro-Cuban, African, and New World percussion. Ensemble Congeros was founded as an outgrowth of the interest and passion of Rensselaer students who successfully completed Dr. Knowles’ course.
In an article in the Times Union, Knowles was quoted as saying, “The first instrument human beings played was a drum, drumming is a language.” He feels the connection between rhythm and every day life.
“For over 45 years I have been a student of African, Afro-Cuban, and New World percussion,” Knowles said. “This academic and artistic journey has infused my inner being with a sense of the importance of connecting with the rhythms of my mind, the rhythms of my body, and the rhythms of my work with students as an Artist Educator. I have come to realize that helping my students get in touch with the rhythms of their lives is an important window into understanding how they approach their being as individuals and members of a community. So, the focus of my work is on helping students learn to appreciate the significance of rhythm in their daily lives and to embrace the important synergy that exists between the drum, science, technology, and the arts. The drum is the nexus: the medium for communication, healing, and celebrating life.”
Rock On is honored to present workshops with Dr. Knowles during it’s 2 week program which starts next week, July 15. Eddie Ade Knowles’ artistic focus is on African and Afro-Cuban music and dance. He has performed and/or recorded with the Dinizulu Dancers, Drummers and Singers; Amagagu ka Shaka South African Dance and Music Company; The Simba Dancers and Drummers; Kim & Reggie Harris; Caribe Mambo; Gil-Scott Heron and the Midnight Band; and The Original Last Poets. Knowles was also the co-founder and artistic managing director of the Griot Dance Company and The New African Music Collective. Recently his conga tracks were sampled on a Grammy nominated Kanye West album.
To find out more, listen to Dr. Knowles interview with Alan Chartock and Joe Donahue on WAMC Radio .
Rock On Young Musician’s Workshop – July 15-19 and July 22-26, 2013.
Featuring live student and faculty performances open to the public including Rock On “Unplugged” at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee featuring Robin O’Herin and more on Fri, July 26, 7:30pm – 10:00pm.