Thursday, 27 April 2017

Remembering 'Rhythmic Ginger' Adam Warne

Sometimes, thankfully not very often, someone comes into my life and then leaves it quite abruptly, and I find myself mourning their loss terribly and completely out of proportion to how well I knew them. The disproportionate grief is made even worse by the knowledge that it is utterly selfish self-pity. My potential friend has gone, not fair!

The latest was Adam Warne, known by many in the UK belly dance community (and elsewhere) as Rhythmic Ginger (the latter for the colour of his hair. I've never understood why red-haired people get teased and bullied. Red hair is beautiful.).

He was an awesome musician, particularly at home on drums, hence the belly dance link, but he was also a percussionist for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. He could pluck rhythms out of the air, weave them together, and make the drums talk, sing, whisper, sigh.

I grabbed an opportunity to go to his workshop with Josephine Wise on dancing to live drumming at a JWAAD Fantasia festival, and was delighted when my friend Rose invited him to come with Catherine Bartholomew as our 'visiting teachers' in February 2016. His love of drumming was tangible and infectious and he was a great teacher. I got so much out of those several hours of workshops, covering lots of rhythms, various middle eastern percussion instruments, different techniques for playing darbuka and frame drums, ergonomics for both dancing and drumming, and what to look for in a drum. I bought a frame drum from him, and treated myself to a new darbuka with my birthday money.

After my solo in the Saturday night showcase, he came up to me and complimented me on my dancing. He sees a lot of dance and dancers, so it meant a lot to me that he enjoyed my dance and thought it and my interpretation of the music were good.
It was a great weekend. We wanted him back for more workshops.

The shock and disbelief at the news that he had died suddenly in early April echoed around Facebook. We knew he'd been ill and had major surgery, but he seemed to be getting better. Then he died, apparently in his sleep, so we can hope it was peaceful. As the tributes and memories started to pour in, it became clear just how many lives he had touched, how well-known and loved he was. So many photos and stories of the bands he'd been in, holidays, his music and lyrics, his humour; so many friends, so many happy memories.

Another reminder, if any were needed, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, and you never know what will happen, so seize the day and live life to the full! I am so grateful for those workshops and the brief conversations I had with him.

Not being one for selfies, and concentrating on the workshop too much to take photos, all I had was some video of him summarising the day's workshop. So I took a still from that, while he was in full flow about the maqsoum rhythm and a framework for practice.
Adam Warne Rhythmic Ginger teaching Cardigan Small World Theatre February 2016
His funeral is next week on 4th May, a month from his death. As a Star Wars fan, I hope he's looking down on us and enjoying the joke. May the fourth be with you Adam, you already are and will be sorely missed.
Although I hardly knew you at all, it looks like you left the world a better place than you found it, as far as those who knew you are concerned. Goodbye, you lovely man.

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