‘What kind of music do you play’?
Germa was born in Les Cayes in Haiti and her family moved to Minnesota (USA) when she was 6; she later moved to Kansas City and lived in Florida for over 15 years before moving to live in the West Midlands (UK). Growing up, Germa was surrounded by traditional Haitian music, southern folk n gospel music and jazz. I, on the other hand, was born in the Highlands of Scotland so grew up in dual sound worlds of classical music and Scottish traditional music, with a big mix of music at home, from glam rock to the Shadows, to Mario Lanza.
Musically, Germa and I have quite similar academic backgrounds - we both trained in the strict, sometimes restrictive classical music world, playing in orchestras and ensembles, learning about the rich history of classical music and all of the rules that go with it. Today, we both have a passion for demystifying this sometimes unwelcoming, sometimes stuffy world and making music accessible to everyone. It is how we met in fact. Germa met in 2010 whilst studying for our Masters in Community Music from the University of York. We bonded over similar backgrounds and quickly started getting involved in music making projects together. We have stayed friends ever since and we have kept making music together ever since. I was even the bridesmaid at her wedding (which, just as an aside, I started to doubt would ever happen since she was so very, very late we nearly lost our limo to the church)!
A big part of what makes The Adan Project so much fun to work on, is the fact that we are both so passionate about discovering new music and we are open (in Germa’s case, fearless) to trying out new styles and techniques, borrowing and blending influences and sometimes juxtaposing things that really shouldn’t work together. We very much have an ethos of: ‘we’ll try it, if it doesn’t work, we’ll try it some other way’. The benefit of being friends for so long, is that we can be honest and open with each other. Don’t get me wrong, this sometimes leads to heated discussion (like when I ridiculed Germa’s ‘Bach to Bieber’ idea), but more often than not leads to some great, unexpected gems that we love. At any one time, as well as the pieces you see us play live, there are always several other pieces or ideas constantly swirling around that we’re still playing with, still experimenting with, still exploring.
We are also both musically curious - the thirst for new music is never quenched and we are constantly emailing each other about new artists we have discovered, sending each other links, articles or lending and borrowing CDs. Germa is so committed to converting me to the realm of world music and jazz, that she kindly sets up a whole load of ‘favourite’ digital radio stations any time that she is in my flat. I am now following Florida jazz channels, über hip Japanese kitch channels and a whole bounty of folk channels. In return, I try to convert her to BBC 6 Music, boys-what-play-guitars and my love of indie. We don’t always succeed and we don’t agree on everything each other sends, but it is fun exploring it together.