I’m a storyteller. I tell stories with percussion. I use different sounds that will bring up memories, so the stories I tell, are your own stories, the stories you live.
Remember the sound of your grandma’s music box, the wind outside your window, or the busy street where you grew up? These are the type of sound stories that I tell. I use sound to connect you to memories. I’m a storyteller.
I work without a net. I go out to the edge and jump off everyday, because that is the only way. Yes, I’ve done my homework—over 40 years of research and performance—but every day is different, every session is different, and all of the wonderful people I connect with are different. So I don’t work from a script. The Universe is fluid. What works one day, may not work the next. It’s important for me to work in the moment.
Since 2002 I’ve worked under the name, G O N G T O P I A, presenting concerts of original compositions & improvisations played on metal instruments, sounding bass drum, and hand drums. Working with the Gongs, Singing Bowls, Bells and Metals is extremely satisfying. The vibrations are intense and beautiful. I’ve also released over 40 albums of solo percussion music and various duo/trio performances.
Another aspect of this work is presenting both Gong Meditation Sessions & Sound Workshops, using Gongs, Singing Bowls & Bells. These instruments create vibratory fields that can affect changes in your energy system. I love working with them. I love that I can present these vibrations to people.
As a parallel career, I’ve also written about music and musicians for both magazines & books. From 1983-2008, I was a contributing writer for MODERN DRUMMER magazine, writing feature interviews, technical articles, and both product and music reviews. I’ve also written for AVANT (UK), DownBeat, Rhythm, and many other music magazines. Among my books are: WHEN IN DOUBT, ROLL! (with Bill Bruford), PERCUSSION PROFILES (with Trevor Taylor), and THE THINKING DRUMMER series of instructional books. You can access both of my percussion blogs, PERCUSSION DECONSTRUCTION™ and THE WAY OF THE GONG™, from the home page. I also teach extensively, both in private lessons, and in workshops & clinics around the country.
~ Michael Bettine