Musical Projects of Malcolm Smith

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[ Email: info  AT  thesmith  DOT  org  DOT  uk ]

Phone: 01525 240 937


A composer and percussionist, I studied Electronic Music at The University of Hertfordshire with Ian Dearden and Javier Alvarez, and studied African Drumming with David Oladunni and many many other master drummers over the past twenty years. My 2006 trip to Senegal allowed intensive study with Jean-Marie Keita and Malo Sonko. In 2009-2010 I completed the Sing Up Take The Lead course learning how to teach vocal workshops.

I was awarded a bursary from the Holst Foundation to visit the 1999 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. I attended the Dartington International Summer School three times: first in 1999 as percussionist for David Bedford's PRS Total Eclipse Project, when I also sang in the choir under Ivor Bolton. In 2000 I was sponsored by the William Glock Foundation to study composition and percussion at Dartington with Edward Dudley Hughes and Ensemble Bash; I also sang Haydn's Creation under Robert Tear. In 2001 I studied Ghanaian drum music of the Ashanti court with Johnson Kwadzo Kemeh, sang with Scott Stroman's African Gospel Choir, attended Rolf Hind's piano masterclass, and played percussion with a jazz quintet.


I began compositional experiments while still at school, using early home computers and keyboards with the synth band ERA. A fascination for electronic sounds led to some house music tracks recorded in various professional studios with the band Elevator Man between 1989 and 1992. I performed and recorded with many student groups at University, including Cosmic Slop (space funk rock), Spliced (punk funk dub), The Waltons (ethnic free improv), before forming The Canopus Percussion Ensemble (1994...1996). During that time I was also involved with music therapy projects and sound engineering for the University Big Band. I even designed an Additive Synthesis system for University compositions and performance. In 1996 I joined the Watford Percussion Project under South African bandleader Molefe Pheto, supporting John Martyn at The Rainbow Festival, and also performed as percussionist for Tabula Rasa Dance Company in Oxford and St. Albans Abbey, and as DJ Spock with Karmatosed sound system at many venues.

Over the years I have accompanied African, Indian, Tai Chi and Butoh dance workshops and theatre productions. The nice people at BBC Training have made several short films featuring me playing music and discussing my life at Michael's Folly (these have not been broadcast on television, but I was interviewed on BBC1's Countryfile programme). More recently I led my drumming group Secret Bass and also played Tibetan singing bowls and percussion with The Naked Truth, and dun duns with Africa Junction.

Nowadays I hold regular drum classes in Hertfordshire, teaching djembe and dun duns, and give private and group drumming tuition in schools and businesses as leader of my own company Drumming Is Fun. For many years I taught the first (to my knowledge) University evening class in African Drumming, then my own Bedford Djembe Group and a community-funded group in Milton Keynes called Moribayassa Drummers. I currently perform with my St. Albans Djembe Group, plus Vitae Drummers in Bucks.

As well as drumming, singing is an increasing passion. I now teach songs from Africa and around the world, and sang and played percussion with African master harpist Sidiki Dembele (see below for album news). From 2014...2016 I performed as bass soloist with Raise The Rafters choir in Aylesbury until we tragically lost our beloved leader Jenny to cancer.

I am making slow but steady progress in the (long) process of setting up my home studio to resume recording and composition, and ultimately form a music production company.

>>> Hear some free downloads of my music






New music is going online as fast we can edit it! [listed above in bold]

© copyright Malcolm Smith 2002-02-07 - last updated 2019-10-09