Born in the Arizona desert, a veteran of multiple explorations into the Sahara desert via Morocco and Western Sahara, and now a resident of the Mojave, Derek Monypeny sees his musical mission as adding to and expanding on what he calls the “desert continuum” – the psychedelic sirocco swirl of desert-based stringed instruments played with utter abandon by musicians the world over. He takes great inspiration from desert guitarists whose playing so perfectly reflects their surroundings in its gnarled beauty and all-pervasive individualism: Richard Bishop, Zoot Horn Rollo, Curt Kirkwood, Jesus Acedo, Bob Log III, and Howe Gelb to name a few. In his travels in North Africa, Derek discovered that same spirit in Saharan guitar playing, in artists such as Seddoum ould Eide, Hammadi ould Nana, and Luleide ould Dendenni.
Derek uses a variety of instruments to achieve these ends. In addition to guitar, he has recorded an album of solo oud recordings (Don’t Bring Me Down, Bruce) and is currently performing and recording using the 15-string electric shahi baaja (Indian electric banjo). Tonight he’ll perform a 40-50 minute quasi-ambient set with electric guitar and shahi baaja, utilizing long-duration tones to interact directly with the resonant properties of the space.
Derek is a former member of the bands Oaxacan (Oakland, CA), ALTO! (Portland, OR), and Sir Richard Bishop’s Freak Of Araby Ensemble. In addition to his solo work, he has an ongoing duo project with Bryan Hillebrandt, OAE (Oakland Afternoon Ensemble). He has performed and toured with artists such as Bill Orcutt, Jozef van Wissem, Eva Aguila/Kevin Shields, Arrington de Dionyso, and many others.
what is the duo project of drummer Dave Abramson and pedal steel guitarist Alan Jones that can be expanded with other players. Their latest release is out on Eiderdown Records. For this show they are joined by guitarist Robert Millis of Climax Golden Twins fame.