In the winter of 1996 I was invited by London based The Serious Road Trip to be Percussionist in Residence with Community Music Sarajevo.
Between 1996 and 2000 I led and collaborated on over 700 workshops with 1000’s of young people across Bosnia
I trained 5 young musicians from Sarajevo into the art of delivering drum, percussion and song workshops. We explored fusing West African, Balkan, Brazilian and Middle Eastern rhythms and songs and collaborated with Oha and Shuta in Mostar, we created a platform for young percussionists to become todays pros in BiH. We worked all across community centers & special schools in Sarajevo on a weekly basis, including Pazaric, Vladimir Nazor Special School, Plavi Svjet Gorazde, Mladi Most Mostar, Omladinske Centar, Bjelava
Many children had lost the best years of their lives and any notion of normal childhood development due to the outrageous and brutal 4 year siege of the capital. Music allowed a free space to let go of anger and suffering and develop a sense of fun, self-esteem, dignity and community. Most people were suffering from some kind of PTSD and I worked with a very broad range of groups; ex-child soldiers, orphans, special needs groups and young people all over Boz. My outreach programme worked regularly in Mostar, Gorazde, Brcko, Travnik, Banja Luka and across various inter-entity programmes.
I was honoured to be supported and mentored musically by the great elders that are Eugene Skeef, Nigel Osborne, Simon Glinn & Bennett Hogg
A vibrant drum and percussion group which performs a melting pot of West African, Brazilian and Balkan music. We got our set together and we toured Holland (twice!), and played various cities and festivals in Italy, Sardinia, Croatia, Czech Republic and performed at gigs, festivals and spontaneous happenings all over Bosnia & Hercegovina between 1997-2000. The Sarajevo Drum Orchestra continues to have a busy schedule ever since...
During 1996-2000 Tony and I formed a wonderful, deep friendship and shared vision for drumming workshops improvisational styles and structured ideas/themes. Together we led 100's of wonderful workshops together.
Tony has been actively working ever since as a Community Music practitioner across Bosnia and is positively respected as second to none in his field. He continues to dedicate himself in challenging situations and places and has that hunger for new music that always generates a positive experience.
He currently leads creative music projects in Sarajevo Blind School & Orphanages, Srebrenica and special needs groups on the summer Balkan Music Camp in Croatia. Tony will also be coming to Scotland to study for his Masters Degree in Music Therapy and naturally to teach, collaborate, perform with fellow musicians on the community music scene in Edinburgh and beyond.
CoMuSa generated much needed opportunities and a positive buzz amongst the many professionals who were instrumental and inspirational in achieving many musical, community and developmental outcomes within the immediate post war Bosnia music and community music scene.
These included help setting up & performing at the First Sarajevo International Jazz Festival in 1997 with Fun^Da^Mental and The Dhol Foundation
A collaboration performance for the opening ceremony in front of Brain Eno, Bono, Pavarotti, and the two years of the music projects with the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar.
Sarajevo International Jazz Festival 1997 - Performance with Aki Nawaz & D from Fun^Da^Mental & Johnny Kalsi of The Dhol Foundation
Tour of Holland 1998 - 2 week tour of performances and workshops. Vibrant performances at night and soothing workshops and collaborations during the day in Asylum Seeker Centres - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Terscheilling Island
Hague Appeal for Peace 1999 - Sarajevo Drum Orchestra were part of a global movement of prominent musicians, artists and heads of state to perform and conduct workshops. We performed in front of Kofi Annan, the Queen of Jordan, Desmond Tutu and Sir Peter Ustinov. We also jammed & hung out with Hip Hop artist Mos Def and the Soweto Choir. Funded by War Child Netherlands,
Tabor, Czech Republic 1999 - 2 week residential festival of collaborative cross art forms. We performed and collaborated with many international musicians and made an amazing musical sculptural performance Serbian Sculpture Artist "Svetlana"
3rd UN Conference of the People 1999 - Perugia ITALY - Performance for international delegates from over 90 countries
Carnival March from Perugia to Assisi for 70,000 all day peace marchers - it was 24km! (we admittedly took a bus now and then!!) but walked up into Assisi playing Carnival fusion music!
Croatia, Obonjan Island - 2 week Summer Residential developing new compositions and rehearsing for tours
Banja Luka - Kastel Festival 1999 2 week BrazilianAfricanBalkan Fusion Drumming Project leading to group Performances as part of in clubs