"The Birth Of Music" • Medium: 3,000 Individual Pieces Of Hand Cut Paper • Dimensions: 35 x 36in • 2006

I was told an African folk lore story by an African couple about how the first instrument was created. The first musician was walking in Africa and passed by a tree, and the spirit of music came down from the heavens and into a tree. The spirit of music spoke to the first musician through this tree and told the musician (also known as a skin beater) to cut the tree down and the spirit of music will show him how to make it into the first instrument. So the first musician cut the tree down and the spirit of music told him how to turn the tree into a drum or Djembe ( A Traditional West African Hand Drum). And the first musical instrument was born.

The top of this piece of art work represents the heavens in which the drum gods dwell. The hands in the heavens represent all the past musicians who are no longer with us in the physical world. The large drum in the center toting the West African symbol of the supremacy of god is sending the spirit of music down to earth into the tree. The bottom of the piece represents the physical world and the earth. The colored dots below the tree and at the bottom of the piece represent the physical land we as humans reside on. The symbol within the flame is the West African symbol for love. The phases of the moon cycles through rhythmically in the night sky like the beat of the drum. To me music is the greatest thing in the world and I think it is fascinating to hear one culture's story that has been passed on for centuries.

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