Testimonial from Steve Clare

Prior to my involvement with OVM, percussion was a performance vehicle that, over time, brought me to the attention of both individuals and organisations alike, interested in employing my services as a music facilitator.

My first OVM course was ‘Samba Fever’ with Dudu Tucci. I’d been running Brazilian-orientated music ensembles for about seven years without having really extended my own knowledge base in the field. I needed the artistic, and consequently, professional direction my life was taking, re-affirming.

Seeking to become more acquainted with traditional hand-drumming, I then attended ‘Conga for Beginners’ with Ravin Jayasuriya. This naturally led me to ‘Conga Total’ with Dudu Tucci. Encouraged by both Ravin and Dudu, I committed myself to OVM’s ‘Roots of Brazil’ training programme over the next three years as this represented the most accessible and indeed coherent advancement for myself in the African-Brazilian drumming and percussive arts. It was made possible for me with funding from the then West Midlands Arts Regional Arts Board.

All the courses I attended were both informative and enjoyable. There was a very harmonious and inclusive vibe, where the range of abilities evident in the participants could all be accommodated… everyone was encouraged, but at their own pace.

My own knowledge and understanding in and around the courses content grew and grew, as indeed did my execution of playing techniques on a wide range of percussion instruments. The format for the more advanced ‘Roots of Brazil’ course was excellent in that, after an intense week of study, students had approximately three months to practise and consolidate before linking up again.

The venues were always homely, set in beautiful parts of the country, ‘away from it all’, which helped make the experiences all the more focused and special. The food was always a real hit and catered for every dietary requirement, of which there were many!

Both Raz and Dudu were perfect tutors… experts in their respective fields, professional in their workshop delivery, charismatic, etc… I respected them highly and considered them both mentors and indeed good friends.

As a result of my involvement with OVM, I became a far more accomplished musician. I felt that the knowledge I had gained made me an infinitely better and indeed more professional tutor. All of this served as such an all round confidence builder, impacting on various aspects of my life.

A rather fortuitous meeting with a fellow student at ‘Samba Fever’ led to a steady stream of work ever since, using the percussive arts as a motivational and team-building tool in the corporate sector.

My direct involvement with OVM culminated in being invited to join the OVM team helping to develop and facilitate the ‘Afoxe Loni’ projects in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy and, playing as a fellow musician alongside Ravin and Dudu in a variety of contexts… both a privilege and a genuine pleasure!

Having been involved in the drumming and percussive arts since 1989, I can honestly say that OVM provided me with my most valuable and treasured experiences, contributing to both my personal and professional development in the field… the most professional and indeed charismatic tutoring, contributing towards the most harmonious and self-affirming studying environments I’ve yet to encounter.
Steve Clare, Birmingham

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