Voyage Chicago: Interview with David Skidmore

May 15, 2018
by Roger Brown

Roger Brown from Voyage Chicago recently sat down with David to talk about Third Coast’s history and current work. Read the full interview below.


Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
After winning their first Grammy in 2017 for an album of music by iconic modern composer Steve Reich, Third Coast Percussion has expanded the scope of their classically-trained quartet to include original work by the ensemble. With the release of their latest album, Paddle to the Sea, Third Coast’s compositions feature prominently, along with the ensemble’s take on music by composers Philip Glass and Jacob Druckman. Traditional Shona music from Zimbabwe on the mbira (a hand-held thumb piano with an incredibly rich sound) rounds out the album.

Please tell us about your art.
Third Coast Percussion’s newest show (and album) Paddle to the Sea is a multimedia performance that looks at our relationship to the bodies of water that connect our lives. Third Coast Percussion composed an entirely new soundtrack to the film which they perform live, interspersed with other music inspired impressions of water and waterways.

As with all of Third Coast’s projects, Paddle to the Sea is at turns virtuosic, exciting, fun, and beautiful. The plot of the movie—a young boy carves a figure in a canoe, and that figure travels from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes and out to the Atlantic Ocean—is simple but very touching.

With lighting design and projections by Chicago-based Joseph Burke, and stage direction by Chicago-based Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, the Paddle to the Sea show is an immersive and engaging 70 minutes.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Yeah this is a big challenge. I’d say: don’t buy into the idea that artists have to be disorganized, or bad businesspeople. If you are organized, good at managing your time, and work hard, you can create stable environment that will allow you to be creative, and to make money doing what you’re passionate about.

Click here for the original article.


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