Gordon Hewitt from The Monthly interviews musician and facilitator Chip Bailey – Part 3

Part one of this interview is here

You have another side to your activities; you facilitate music workshops?

I was involved with a collective of drummers called “Psalm Drummers”. Drummers seem to  be able to hang out together without all the ego and competition. We used to meet together in London once a month and have a blast.

On the back of that I was invited to a Remo Drum Company seminar. There was a man called Arthur Hall who facilitated a drum circle and he was great but I am sat there and thinking, I do this and he’s making a living out of it.

I started facilitating my own workshops after that.

Do you teach people how to play drums?

I can do but I would see myself as a facilitator rather than a teacher. My workshops are about allowing people to express themselves. It is a community event. We create a spontaneous percussion orchestra. Drumming affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and can be profoundly up lifting.

I am at my best when I am facilitating rather than teaching. I love as it builds bridges. Anyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion etc can take part. I did a bunch of workshops in Belfast City Centre a few weeks ago as part of the busking festival and the variety of people that took part was very gratifying to see. And the smiles on peoples faces and the dancing from passers by. Loved it.

I do all sort of events, corporate events, team building, schools, community events, it can work anywhere.

How do you end up with the Over the Hill Music Collective?

I have been coming to Belfast for the past 20 odd years and I finally moved here about a year ago. I already knew a lot of people here and Pete put me in touch with a bunch of people I could talk to about what is happening here in the arts etc one of whom was Paul Kane from OTH.

Paul was really welcoming and helpful. He told me about OTH and I went along to a meeting and haven’t stopped going since and now work for OTH! It is really unique. A collective dedicated to older musicians.

I have made genuine new friendships and haven’t laughed so much in years. A pleasure to be involved and a lot of work ahead to help older musicians find their voice in the music industry.

Where to now?

Before moving here I had been through a very difficult couple of years and had lost my way in music and had no idea what to do next. The life of full-time musician is full of challenges. There are plenty of difficulties and sometimes it’s hard to survive. Local artist Ursula Burns put up a great and challenging post on facebook the other day about the plight of the musician. Worth a look and definitely a debate to be had.

Coming to Belfast is a new start for me and a sort of relaunch of my career. Since being here I feel like I have come alive again. I have rediscovered my creativity, got the old self doubt under control and feeling a bit more confident. Doing a few Duke gigs and Peter and I have been asked to collaborate with the Gertrude Star marching band which is great fun. I’m working with Over The Hill, doing some cover gigs with the likes of Rory Nellis and Phil d’Alton and facilitating workshops for various events and am available!

So anyone out there need a mad drummer/percussionist with shed loads of gear to cover any eventuality or to facilitate hands on drumming for your group or organisation feel free to get in touch!

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.