Barak Schmool

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b. 7 February 1969, London, England. Playing piano from very early childhood, Schmool then learned saxophone and formed his own band before going to London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1988. There, he…
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b. 7 February 1969, London, England. Playing piano from very early childhood, Schmool then learned saxophone and formed his own band before going to London’s Royal Academy of Music in 1988. There, he studied saxophone and composition, later attending City University. Subsequently, he also studied West African dance drumming and Latin percussion. Among several important and long-term musical associations has been Schmool’s admiration for Django Bates. Through the early 90s, he played in Bates’ Delightful Precipice and recorded with him on Winter Truce (And Homes Ablaze) in 1995 and on other albums. He also worked fruitfully with Bosco De Oliveira, Nana Tsiboe, Robert Mitchell and Hilaire Penda. From the middle of the decade onwards, he formed a succession of bands, pursuing different musical concepts with each. Among these have been Timeline, formed in 1995, which performs a repertoire of what might be termed Afro-rhythmic jazz, Méta Méta plays Cuban batá-fusion, while Roots Of Unity performs music integrated with dance. He has also pursued music for dance with the Bullies Ballerinas troupe. Schmool has worked extensively with several drumming groups, including the Akwaaba Drum Orchestra (djembe), the Sounds Of Senegal (sabar) and Rhythms Of The City (samba bateria).

For many years, Schmool was active as a music educator at City University, Goldsmith’s College, and the Royal Academy of Music, He has also been deeply involved in taking music to the people by way of numerous community projects. In particular, the latter have developed through Schmool’s interest in percussion. In 1999, aware of the problems facing musicians who wished to develop ideas and concepts but unable to find study and rehearsal space, Schmool founded the Fellowship for Integrated Rhythmic Expression. The F-IRE Collective took advantage of facilities Schmool organized at City University. Through the early 00s, Schmool remained a tireless force behind and main co-ordinator of F-IRE’s activities.