Drums transcend normal logic; the inherent healing and positive qualities have enhanced something very personal to me, my own recovery."
Playing his first paid gig at age 12 in 1959, Eddie Tuduri has lived every aspect of a drummer's life. His professional drumming career has spanned over 40 years working with artists such as Delaney Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock, The Beach Boys, Dobie Gray, Del Shannon, Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band, Dr. John, Ike Turner and many others.
But it wasn't until his near death experience did he truly experience the layers of love and healing in the music he created.
On a warm September night in 1997, Eddie was catching a few waves in Carpinteria before heading to his gig at a pizza restaurant in Santa Barbara with blues artist, Sky Ferguson. He didn't make it to the gig that night or to the two tours he landed for the fall. Eddie was instead fighting his likely fate of being a quadriplegic after his last wave for the day slammed him to the bottom of the ocean and broke his neck.
It took a six hour spinal surgery and a week in ICU to repair the damage from that wave.
Eddie was then transferred to The Rehabilitation Institute in Santa Barbara where both physical and spiritual healing occurred. As soon as he cleared through the haze of surgery, he managed to get percussion instruments in his ward and began to work on his groove by tapping a stick against his bed frame. Other patients in the ward joined in on the rhythm and the happiness it created.
By experiencing these simple moments of joy through music with people outside of his career of playing drums as a living, he began to understand music at an entirely new level. The basic rhythms of percussion and clapping were making trama patients feel alive and hopeful.
"Rhythm comes from a place deep inside all of us, a place no physical trauma can reach. It moves us in a positive direction mentally, physically, and spiritually." Eddie said reflecting on the moment.
As Eddie gained mobility, they formalized the music making into a drum circle involving occupational therapists. The drumming was used as a tool to address rehab goals and focused on regenerating nerves, attention span and memory in patients. This program earned formal therapeutic merit and was widely accepted at conferences across the country.
While at a conference, he was introduced to the field of developmental disabilities and learned how percussion and drums are used with developmentally challenged kids to result in a true learning experience over time.
Since his injury, Eddie has happily accepted his new path in life to help others through music. He truly feels the joyful spirit of drumming and the way it can be used as a tool for teaching and healing.
Today he is the founder of The Rhythmic Arts Project, created to enhance the lives of people with disabilities utilizing rhythm, djembe drums, and other percussion instruments.
His story is an inspiration to the musician in all of us.
Steve Fischler said...Music is very healing... this a very cool what Eddie is doing now. I too, worked with Delaney Bramlett, doing promotion on this last CD,"A New Kind Of Blues" until his untimely death due to complications from Gall Bladder Surgery. Eddie I think what you are doing is so commendable.
Rob Goerlitz said...I have had wonderful experiences with drums and all percussion instruments. From a full drum kit to my djembe. One experience tops them all. There were about 40 or so people up on top of a pine covered mountain celebrating what we called Mountain-fest. One event of the day goes like this. About 20 minutes before the sun leaves our view in the west we climp up to the edge of a cliff overlooking other peaks in our sundown.
Everybody has a percussion instrument. We have djembes of all sizes, cowbells, all kinds of amazing shakers, a bass drum, and much more. We start out with a simple beat and then we just go where the drum jam takes us. For 15 minutes or so build up into a spiritual kind of frenzy right as the sun crests the mountain accross from us about 2 miles away. Then right as the sun drops out of sight we have 30 second or so drand finale whooping and haloring like a band of indians. It was the most amazing feeling. People standing all around, on rocks in trees, all these people living in the moment to one beat we were all creating as one. After all that time it really takes you somewere special as you look around at everyone and make eye contact with people all feeling the same thing at the same time. It's beautiful. So incredible that my words cannot do it justice.
I have been to many concerts. I have been to Indian Pow Wow's, Indian gatherings, sacred spiritual cerimonies with their drum and other sounds late into the night. But nothing tops that time where all 30 of us kids and adults, moms and dads, made all of us feel the same thing at once. Love it. Thanks for letting me share. Rob