If you aren’t familiar with Walter Kitundu can read a bit about him and the MacArthur Genius Award he just received on SFGate and listen to an MOTW interview & performance with him performing along with Robin Sukhadia as Field.
Back in July 2004, I received a request to interview Field. The description peaked my curiousity. Tablas and phonoharp? I didn’t know what that was but I wanted to hear it. Robin Sukhadia and Walter Kitundu came in for live studio performance and interview at KPFA on July 13, 2004. Click here to listen to Field’s performance and interview. Check out the pics below to see the instruments Walter brought in to the studio.
I sound really silly and giddy during the interview with Field because it was just so cool and exciting to be there. The instruments Walter builds are just so fascinating and exciting to look at it brings out the little kid in you. The whole time I just wanted to jump up and down in giddy excitement. (Then the kindergartener in me wanted to push him aside screaming ‘my toy, my toy, i wanna play!’ Ok, that didn’t go through my head but the phonoharp is that cool it would be fought over in a group of big kids.)
Fortunately, I am not alone. I went to a performance this year. The room was a bit empty but as he played and people saw what he was playing, they came and stayed. When he stopped the kids of all ages immediately zoomed in on him and his instruments asking questions and wanting to touch his phonokora and phonoharp. The instruments incite excitement and curiosity – two very good things. Walter has a sweet quiet demeanor which changes when he talks about his instruments. He gets all crazy maniacal and foams at the mouth. Just kidding. He doesn’t do anything of the sort but does share some interesting thoughts about his instruments and music. You can check him out for yourself on Sparks.
P.S. He takes great photographs of nature – mostly birds. He has some amazing close ups and action shots.
P.S.S. Walter Kitundu & Robin Sukhadia are performing at the Sangati Center on Nov. 22, 2008