Riding Cow – Dancehall Prepared Piano

“If you can’ find horse, ride cow,” is a saying we have in Barbados. It means that if your ideal tool is not present; you have to improvise.

Teaching in a public education system in a 3rd world country means that riding cow happens regularly. Sometimes cow jockeying produces unexpected results such as in the videos below.

The videos you will see were made on the piano in the performing hall at the only tertiary level music institution in Barbados. The piano is busted and terribly out of tune.  However, because the strings in the lower register are gone, they produce a percussive sound that is very close to a prepared piano. The prepared piano sound comes from adding objects onto the strings to get different textures. For those of you unfamiliar with how that works watch and listen below:

In my videos, I played a variety of dancehall numbers as that music inspires me.

Enough program notes though, here are the videos. First up is Clarks by Vybz Kartel and the other is a Dancehall improvisation piece. Enjoy!

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stefanwalcott

Stefan Walcott is a Barbadian pianist and composer. Throughout his career, Stefan has been privileged to perform with and write for a wide cross section of artists, both in England where he studied, and in his native Barbados. Stefan currently is artistic director of the only big band and steel pan group in the Caribbean, the 1688 Orchestra which he started. This group, functions under his social business, Hats Music, which has set about to return live music to the various spaces in Barbados. Stefan is currently reading for a Phd in cultural studies with a specialty interest in music of the English-speaking Caribbean.

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