Sunday, April 01, 2007

Swimming with sharks and playing turtle shells, yes it's another hard day at the office...

Well, we're back from the jamming sessions with Norman Cook and Belizean the artists Andy Palacio, the Grandmaster and the Garifuna collective. It was just the nicest week ever with night time drumming sessions on the beach, snorkeling trips, jamming, fishing, recording songs, sunbathing and walking barefeet on the beach. It really couldn't have been any more perfect.

The first day was a bit chaotic as there were so many people at once, but things soon slowed down and good music was made in the process. Norman recorded 3 songs whilst he was here, with my favorite being a slighly more down-tempo track with Andy Palacio and the Grandmaster, which I think will be called 'GMT'. The stuff that was recorded here will not be released as Fatboy Slim, but as the Mighty Dub Katz on Norman's label Southern Fried Records.

One of the things that was interesting to see was the interaction between someone like Norman, who is of course a big time DJ/producers & these local musicians, none of which are professionals (even Andy Palacio, the biggest Belizean star, is a diplomat as well as an artist). Norman was surprised to see how all the Belizeans just froze the minute the recordings started in the studio. The whole set-up was just too alien for them & they struggled to create a vibe like they had the night before when drumming on the beach.

Ivan Duran from the Belizean label StoneTree Records explained that this was a common problem and that all their albums are therefor recorded in people's houses, with the singer set up in the kitchen, the drummers in the bedroom, etc.

Still, Norman patiently persevered and eventually managed to get some great stuff out of everybody.

Setting things up.

Norman trying to figure out where 'the vibe' has gone:

We were all so sad to leave. Maybe the following pictures will help explain why...

Caroline Prothero from Prohibition, Nathan from Southern Fried, Norman, Andy, the kids and I on our way to Shark Ray Alley, where we snorkeled with nurse sharks, sting rays, eagle rays, turtles and more.

One of the daily fishing sessions at the end of the pier (hoping to catch dinner). Much was caught, including a crab, but nothing big enough to feed us.

The biggest fish of the week was caught by Aidan. Sadly though, it was made of fabric. Lucas' 6-year-old friend Justin kept telling people that he had caught 'a slapper' the night before, which we believe was the snapper that the boys had caught (we didn't correct him as we all found it too funny)

Drummer playing the turtle shells. Norman loved the sound that night, but was less keen on them when he got awoken at 7 am the next morning by the 'tuning of the shells' outside his bedroom door. Still, it's all part of being in the tropics.