As I entered Izakaya and heard techno music filling the entire Bar, I turned to the man at the door and asked, “The Brooklyn-Manila Project” is tonight right? He grunted and pointed to the poster. I opened my notes and checked again: “classical…cello.”
It was a young crowd, and everybody was in high spirits, not the kind of audience you’d come expect waiting for a classical jazz performance. “This was going a real interesting gig,” I said to my date. “Even if he’s as good as everybody says he is, I don’t think this is his kind of audience.”
I was wrong. Delightfully proven wrong.
There was no grand entrance or introduction when Dave Eggar and his band Deoro (composed of Chuck Palmer and Tom Pirozzi) first entered, but their presence and Eggar’s towering cello was enough to make a lot of heads turn in eager anticipation of what was going to happen next.
And as soon as the first note from his cello was unleashed, it immediately blended seamlessly as if it had been part of the techno music all along. He had fused in and made everyone groove to a strange new beat.
Such is the incredible talent of Dave Eggar. His ability to effortlessly move from Pop, Rock, Jazz, R&B, New Age, World or Classical music is only matched by the diversity of musical artists that he had worked with. A partial list that includes Evanescence (tours and album), Bon Jovi, Josh Groban, Coldplay (Viva La Vida), Beyonce (If I were a Boy), Fergie (Big Girls Don’t Cry), Pearl Jam, Fall Out Boy (album), and Duncan Sheik truly illustrates that.
He had been performing since he was seven, and speaks of his music like a nuclear physicist, describing it as a fission rather than merely a fusion of musical genres.
“Fusion is just another genre, unlike fission wherein you first have to break down music into parts and carefully picking out the elements you could put together to create something really unique,” Eggar explained.
“As a classical artist, I’ve landed in a genre called classical crossover and I always hated that term because it seemed like we are just reaching over. What we are doing is “extreme classical crossover” much like extreme skiing or extreme skateboarding. We are looking for high-risk collaborations where you are unsure if it’s going to work or how it is going to pan out.
His latest work “Kingston Morning” is an album of collaborations done in Kingston, Jamaica, Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and Brooklyn, NY and perfectly mirrors Dave’s mission to “not just cross over, but to cross through” genres. He said it represents a new and extreme brand of high-risk, high-impact classical crossover and juxtaposes Reggae and Appalachian music in a look at local culture fighting for a voice in an increasingly global environment.
It is this continuing quest for high-risk collaborations that brought him back into the country.
Eggar says he first learned about the Philippines when he performed here with acclaimed violinist Lucia Micarelli a couple of years ago. After finishing “Kingston Morning,” he said he wanted to do a similar project in South East Asia, and placed the Philippines on top of his list. A list that even forced him to beg off from a Paul Simon project.
Their group had just returned from Bukidnon to learn about the music of the Talaandig Tribe and said they were impressed by the tribe’s musical creativity and ingenuity of their instruments. Tom likewise recounted an impromptu performance at an island bar in Camiguin at 7 in the morning as one of the favorite gigs he ever did.
They are now currently touring Manila and will be collaborating with independent artists such as Drip, SinoSikat, Radioactive Sago Project, and Nyko Maca presents Gafiera.
He says they have enjoyed working with both populations of Filipino musicians; the traditional indigenous musicians and young hip bands. He said our musicians are real adventurous spirits and their sense of creativity. This desire to break out smash boundaries and combine pop and art have made working with them very easy.
Eggar added that he saw a level of inventiveness in the Filipino bands that is rare even in the US and is very excited to create new music with them.
“We share that fearless ability to go into the unknown and feel out what we doing, it might be a bit uncomfortable at first but as we go on we on we may actually discover a new kind of music that has never been done.
“Kingston Morning” was not just an ethnomusicology project showing the music of Jamaica. The idea is we would actually go into that culture and have the vulnerability of getting to know that culture. This is what we are also trying to do in the Philippines. It is a long process and it would take a few trips before we could really sense that we have built a relationship and have started a story. That story will have elements of Filipino music, elements of American music and elements of classical music– but it will still be about the individuals involved and how these relationships create a very real and telling story for the listener,” says Eggar.
“I think an emotional story and honesty are the things that truly communicate with the listener, so it’s not so much like bringing back Filipino music to America and showing what it is. It is more of a powerful collision and fusion of styles that will make the listener go, “Wow!” and when they ask what kind of music that is and we can proudly define it as the “Brooklyn-Manila Project.”
“All I’m trying to do is spark that vitality. Once creativity rolls down the hill, the process takes on a life of its own. That is what we call crossing through, because when you look at the product in the end you could have never imagined it possible in the beginning and every party in the equation has been changed a bit in their way of thinking.”
Time Magazine described him as an “exceptionally accomplished all-around musician whose life in music seems an unending crescendo,” and for good reason, and it’s because Dave Eggar can music that redefines itself as it transcends through time. Check out http://www.daveeggarmusic.com/
to experience a unique musical treat.