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News > Arts & Culture > Music > Sam Rawlins produces C-FUNK

Sam Rawlins produces C-FUNK

"We have a reputation in the orchestra to create music that is slightly out of the ordinary"

17 Jul 2020
Music
Sam Rawlins (WW 15-20) has produced a wonderful musical piece called C-FUNK whilst in lockdown, inspired by Steve Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’.

The piece was put together by Sam and his friend George Wright, a fellow percussionist in the Kent County Youth Orchestra. It is just under 3 minutes long but well worth watching every second, on decent speakers if possible!

We hear from Sam and how his piece came about.

Towards the end of June, I was asked by the manager of Kent County Youth Orchestra to send in a performance to be used as part of a “Virtual Music Festival” – the idea being this will replace the course of events that would normally run throughout the summer. I immediately thought to join forces with my good mate George, a fellow percussionist in KCYO, with whom I have written and performed many times with.
 
We have a reputation in the orchestra to create music that is slightly out of the ordinary, and I wanted to continue this trend. A few texts and a ten minute facetime later we had decided to make our own version of ‘Clapping music’ –  a piece for two players clapping the same 1-bar rhythm which can be heard throughout our version. Nothing else established yet (since George was running late for his gym session) apart from that we would swiftly turn our clapping into a funk groove.
 
Composing an essentially brand new piece is tricky in person, even harder when George is 170 miles away living in his university accommodation. A few days pass and I receive the groove – just a bassline, guitar and some drums. I pick up a shaker that has been collecting dust in my room and start to jam along, next picking up a tambourine and then sitting down at my own drum kit. I record a few things on top of his track and send it back. Both of us are quite excited at this point, since we have already exceeded our expectations of what we could create in the circumstances. “I’m not sure whether the final head is interesting enough”, he asks. I reply “Bari sax solo?”
 
A day later I receive George’s final take and get busy recording my parts. Between us we have two clapping tracks, two drumming tracks, a bassline, guitar, shaker, tambourine, woodblock and a saxophone track. I downloaded a free trial of some pretty good editing software, uploaded all the audio and video and started mashing it all together. It was at this point I realised how un-experienced I was with using this sort of technology. Nonetheless, a few “how to do x, y, z” YouTube tutorials and late nights later I was finished. I am proud of how it turned out, especially since there is so much going on it is hard to watch the same version twice.
 
The piece is called C-FUNK, derived from “Clapping-Funk”. Coincidentally, it also happens to be in the key of C. (That isn’t true, it’s in F.)
 
Lastly, I owe a great deal of credit to George Wright, since he was the one who came up with such a damn catchy groove.



Listen to more of Sam's pieces on YouTube here.

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