Artist creates ‘global fusion’ music experience

Shane Philip brings musical wizardry to The Vat

FUSION - Musician Shane Philip brings his mesmerizing styles of music to The Vat on Feb. 15.

FUSION - Musician Shane Philip brings his mesmerizing styles of music to The Vat on Feb. 15.

Describing his tunes as ‘west coast island rhythms’, musician Shane Philip clearly isn’t restricted to any one single genre.

He brings his artistic wizardry, which features the exquisitely exotic sounds of the didgeridoo to The Vat Feb. 15.

Philip is certainly an extraordinarily gifted one-man show – shaking up rhythms with his aslatua, heating up the dance floor with his djembe and spinning grooves on his Weissenborn-style guitar.

And, although Philip loosely refers to his style as west coast island rhythms, it is by no means isolated in a sea of genres. The self-taught musician plays some seven instruments – usually at the same time, including the absolutely mesmerizing Australian didgeridoo, African djembe and Hawaiian Weissenborn guitar.

The didgeridoo is itself a fascinating and utterly unique instrument with its haunting, exotic tone – according to Wikipedia, the ‘didge’ is defined as a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia at least 1,500 years ago.

Ultimately, it’s just one of the many ‘tools’ Philip utilizes to keep his music continually intriguing and defiant of any kind of categorization. It’s an approach to music that keeps him both relevant and timeless.

Sometimes described as a mixture between folk, reggae and even electronica, the solo artist’s music is, as already indicated, impossible to pigeonhole. “I have a collaboration of global fusion, if you will, within my set and with the gear I use,” he said.

Philip’s music captures the spirit of his culturally and artistically diverse style and when played live has the power to possess, with which he himself is so taken.

“When people are moving I can watch them and they influence me to make certain sounds by the way they are moving. It’s like a dance we’re doing back and forth,” he said. “There’s a bonding, a sharing of energy back and forth that words can’t explain.”

Meanwhile, he is well on his way to releasing a new CD and those who attend his show at The Vat on Feb. 15 can look forward to hearing some of the unreleased tracks.

Aside from crafting new music, Philip is also a full-time touring musician with several albums under his belt. He consistently charts on national independent and campus radio stations and is a regular on CBC radio shows across Canada.

From early childhood moments of drumming kitchen tables and car dashboards, to the present, his stylings have been self-taught and self-motivated every step of the way. A gift for songwriting and singing also surfaced at around the same time in his youth. The creativity that floods his songs literally comes from everywhere.

“We are influenced by everything we listen to, see and do,” he said. “So much of what shapes the music, vibe, content, and overall feeling of the songs is unconscious. I write music that results from everything that goes on in the life I live.”

It was the year 2005 that marked the beginning of his life as a non-stop touring musician. Since then he’s toured Canada extensively. In 2007, he released Earthshake, a collection of songs he’d been working on, with production assistance from long-time collaborator Corwin Fox.

2008 saw this collaboration expanded and revamped with the release of In the Moment.

While some of the songs were rhythmically focused, others were deeply moving songs that reflect the environment, social justice and personal experience.

Live at Baker Studios was released in 2009 and showcases his aptitude for performance in high-pressure situations. Tracks for the CD were quickly laid down – the album was recorded in Victoria by Joby ‘live off the floor’ in just two days.

The year 2011 brought Life.Love.Music. Once again, he collaborated with Baker, who not only produced the CD but also played bass and drums on it.

For Philip, staying open to all kinds of influences is an integral part of what he does and who he is.

“I have no limitations and that’s what keeps it really exciting for me.”