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Steve Clark On Bass / Blog

London Free Press article

The sweet thunder of a huge drum ensemble gives way to the sounds of the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea at separate Aeolian Hall concerts this weekend.

"Right around 23 . . . between 20 and 25," says London drummer Brian McHugh, taking a quick guess at the number of percussionists he has pulled together for a Friday concert.

"We play music of the Near East and Middle East," says Panayiotis Giannarapis, a Londoner of Greek heritage who plays the oud in the Light of East Ensemble. "I have roots in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) . . . my father's mother." The Light of East plays on Saturday.

McHugh grew up in the Aylmer area before attending the University of Western Ontario. He later went to Hollywood for more studies before returning to Canada where he has recorded and toured.

Some of the drummers who will be heard on Friday are students of McHugh's drum studios in London and Tillsonburg. Others are drummer friends from the London area, making it seem McHugh has all the drummers in town with him.

"It just seems like that," he says. "I just lined it all up myself."

McHugh is not bringing only drummers to Aeolian Hall. Pianist Bryan Gloyd, sax player Joe Edmonds, Chatham guitarist Andy Tattersall and London singer Sharon (Bee) Beeler will be among the other performers on hand.

"About half the show will feature the drummers/percussionists as they accompany the backup band in a variety of tunes, with the remainder left to me to take the reins from behind the drum set," McHugh says.

The bassist for McHugh's band is Steve Clark, who will be back the next night with the Light of East Ensemble.

"I like to play music that makes me smile and to play with musicians who make me smile," says Clark of the variety he'll enjoy over the weekend.

Clark is an '80s-era Humber College grad who returned to playing about five years ago.

Joining Clark and Giannarapis, who also plays bouzouki, are clarinet player Copper Ferreira, flutist Jennifer Baetz Chester, violinist Mary Ashton and percussionist Joel Jacobs.

London-born Giannarapis, who attended Wheable and Laurier secondary schools before studying chemistry at UWO, longed to learn oud and bouzouki as a way of exploring the music from his family's musical heritage. He had played accordion when he was younger. But the absence of other oud players in London held Giannarapis back.

The only solution seemed to be for the young musician to travel to Europe for lessons. His parents were split on the idea of sending him to Greece for that purpose. "I did find teachers in Toronto I could study under," he says. In turn, those studies helped lead to Light of East.

The ensemble's draws from traditional, folk, classical Arabic, traditional Greek and modern urban music.

Its sounds echo Armenia, Greece, Turkey and Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

Hamilton-area ensemble Zarabanda is also on Saturday's bill.

If you go

What: Separate 7:30 p.m. concerts at Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. (at Rectory) this weekend.

Friday: A Night of Drums, Brian McHugh and guests. $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Saturday: The Light of East Ensemble, Zarabanda. $12, children 14-and-under, $6.

Details: Visit aeolianhall.ca or call 519-672-7950

London Free Press Article

The sweet thunder of a huge drum ensemble gives way to the sounds of the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea at separate Aeolian Hall concerts this weekend.

"Right around 23 . . . between 20 and 25," says London drummer Brian McHugh, taking a quick guess at the number of percussionists he has pulled together for a Friday concert.

"We play music of the Near East and Middle East," says Panayiotis Giannarapis, a Londoner of Greek heritage who plays the oud in the Light of East Ensemble. "I have roots in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) . . . my father's mother." The Light of East plays on Saturday.

McHugh grew up in the Aylmer area before attending the University of Western Ontario. He later went to Hollywood for more studies before returning to Canada where he has recorded and toured.

Some of the drummers who will be heard on Friday are students of McHugh's drum studios in London and Tillsonburg. Others are drummer friends from the London area, making it seem McHugh has all the drummers in town with him.

"It just seems like that," he says. "I just lined it all up myself."

McHugh is not bringing only drummers to Aeolian Hall. Pianist Bryan Gloyd, sax player Joe Edmonds, Chatham guitarist Andy Tattersall and London singer Sharon (Bee) Beeler will be among the other performers on hand.

"About half the show will feature the drummers/percussionists as they accompany the backup band in a variety of tunes, with the remainder left to me to take the reins from behind the drum set," McHugh says.

The bassist for McHugh's band is Steve Clark, who will be back the next night with the Light of East Ensemble.

"I like to play music that makes me smile and to play with musicians who make me smile," says Clark of the variety he'll enjoy over the weekend.

Clark is an '80s-era Humber College grad who returned to playing about five years ago.

Joining Clark and Giannarapis, who also plays bouzouki, are clarinet player Copper Ferreira, flutist Jennifer Baetz Chester, violinist Mary Ashton and percussionist Joel Jacobs.

London-born Giannarapis, who attended Wheable and Laurier secondary schools before studying chemistry at UWO, longed to learn oud and bouzouki as a way of exploring the music from his family's musical heritage. He had played accordion when he was younger. But the absence of other oud players in London held Giannarapis back.

The only solution seemed to be for the young musician to travel to Europe for lessons. His parents were split on the idea of sending him to Greece for that purpose. "I did find teachers in Toronto I could study under," he says. In turn, those studies helped lead to Light of East.

The ensemble's draws from traditional, folk, classical Arabic, traditional Greek and modern urban music.

Its sounds echo Armenia, Greece, Turkey and Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

Hamilton-area ensemble Zarabanda is also on Saturday's bill.

If you go

What: Separate 7:30 p.m. concerts at Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. (at Rectory) this weekend.

Friday: A Night of Drums, Brian McHugh and guests. $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Saturday: The Light of East Ensemble, Zarabanda. $12, children 14-and-under, $6.

Details: Visit aeolianhall.ca or call 519-672-7950

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