Music Bio 3/23/07 Birthday Eve
(for CD Baby and website bio)
Gayan Gregory Long (Gayan) is a master drummer, singer, songwriter, storyteller and guitarist. His musical influences include rock, jazz, devotional and world music. Performing since he was ten years old, since twelve on the drum set, he left home and college at age twenty for the spectacular Rocky Mountains of Colorado to play rock ‘n roll. As the music around him changed, so did his musical interests. He studied and played middle-Eastern, African, Latin and jazz music.
In the past, he held various day jobs including hi-fi sales, co-founding and directing a non-profit environmental group, and organizational development consulting to support his passion for playing music. Meanwhile, he continued to accept every gig, open stage and jamming opportunity while spending as much time as he could wood-shedding (practicing for long hours).
In the summer of 1995, he had an epiphany. He realized that his livelihood, passion and raison d’etre converged by playing music full time.
As an accompanist, band member and front person Gayan has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and with the Ft. Collins Symphony Orchestra. His drumming is featured on over 20 CD’s including his own recording, Padma Thunder. For the past seven years, he has been performing, composing and improvising music for the modern dance department at Colorado State University. His musical adventures have taken him from the southern reaches of Peru, across the Atlantic to Russia and India, north of the border to Canada, and throughout the United States.
Gayan is an accompanist for the master Sufi musician Shabda Khan, who is the Pir, or spiritual leader, of Sufi Ruhaniat International. He has been performing music weekly at the Whole Life Center for Spiritual Living in Ft. Collins, CO, where he has served as co-music director for the past two years. He has also spent the last fifteen years doing the “band thing” (Jambo Drummers, Liz Barnez, and Shakey Ground), as a free-lance musician and accompanying international and sacred dances.
His newest project, The Gayan Experience, is a synthesis of his diverse musical experiences and influences. “I got tired of just filling one role at a particular gig. One night I might play djembe, the next day I would sing and play African drums, and perhaps play rock ‘n roll that same night. Then I’d wake up the next day and play percussion on somebody else’s record then play jazz that night. I started thinking, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great to pull all of these elements into one show.’ I wanted to see if a front person could sing, move from djembe to drumset to guitar, while leading the band and the audience in an exciting, enlivened musical experience.” Hence, The Gayan Experience was born.
Imagine a concert music dance evening where the terrain somehow seamlessly flows from Goddess incantations to straight-on rock ‘n roll, from African drumming to chanting to waltzy singer-songwriter tunes, from trance-devotional middle-Eastern and Indian music to Brazilian street samba, often in the same medley.
In The Gayan Experience, Gayan weaves original compositions with delightful and surprising cover tunes, spiced with African drumming and chanting, Indian kirtan and middle-Eastern zikr music. Throughout the course of the performance, he moves from djembe to drumset to acoustic guitar to storytelling while delivering lead vocals. Whether it’s a large band, smaller combo, or “solo” performance, the listener can be assured that the experience will be dynamic, engaging, and unforgettable.
With material for three CD’s in the works, his next release (due August 2007) is sure to take the listener on a journey of deep devotional music, rock ‘n roll, or wild-ass drumming—depending on which CD he decides to record first.
Gayan continues to enjoy life on the front range of Colorado, where he lives with his fifteen year old tabby cat, Two Socks, and his carbon fiber road bicycle.