Ukeleles may be all the rage, but don't tell that to Pitz Quattrone. The East Montpelier resident, who's been performing since his teen years and playing and teaching the didgeridoo since 1993, is on a mission to spread the, um, drone.
Recently, Quattrone was invited to participate in the Senegal-America Project of the nonprofit Arts Are Essential, Inc. The Massachusetts-based organization, which represents artist-educators throughout the Northeast, offers enrichment trips to the West African nation for cultural and educational exchanges.
Quattrone says he'll be able to teach Senegalese kids how to play the didgeridoo — an ancient Aboriginal wind instrument — and to build their own out of indigenous woods. In addition, Quattrone will get to hang in a local recording studio with percussionist Tony Vacca of World Rhythms, and members of renowned Senegalese musician Baaba Maal's band.
All this fun doesn't come cheap, though; Quattrone is hoping friends, fans and, hey, kind strangers will chip in to help him defray the $3900 travel expenses. And, he points out, donations are tax-deductible. (See the Arts Are Essential website for details.) The trip is scheduled for December and January.
Meanwhile, Quattrone is "in the middle of" recording an album as part of 3 Trees, which also features oud, ney, mouthharp, percussion and chant. The trio's sound has been described as "Middle East meets Native Australia." The new release is due in early 2012.
Want to learn the didge yourself? Start practicing your circular breathing. Quattrone now offers lessons over Skype.