Episode 8: The Musical World is a Cultural Melting Pot, Part 1

Episode 8: The Musical World is a Culturing Melting Pot, Part 1

Aaron Abrahamson Cote
illustration credit: Jon Bravo of Ska Illustrated

Listen here:

Aaron Abrahamson Cote is a Rhode Island-based steel pan player. He considers himself a cultural ambassador who has the privilege of representing a culture that is not his own. He talks about the responsibility he has to represent his adopted culture with deep respect, care, and accuracy, as well as the relationships he has formed over the years with people all over the world. In addition to talking about steel pan and Caribbean music, we talked about a whole lot of other things as well. In fact, we had so much fun talking the conversation needed to be split into two episodes! Part 2 will come out in two weeks.

Topics in this episode include:

  • Being a cultural ambassador
  • Seeking out a variety of musical experiences
  • Commissioning new music
  • Playing on a cruise ship
  • Music as a key to traveling and experiencing the world
  • Choosing the types of gigs you take
  • Balancing the types of work you want to do and the life you want to live
  • Balancing the mind and heart of music
  • Obsession vs. rest
  • The cycle of gigs
  • “Sonic Happiness”
  • How technology has sped up the spread of musical ideas
  • The melding of cultures and music
  • Making music during COVID
  • How competitors can become collaborators
  • Music is a time machine
  • Music connects you to people you might not otherwise meet
  • Music touches people in unique ways

After graduating from Butler University and The University of Illinois (MM), Aaron Abrahamson Cote’s music education continues with firsthand performance experience on a regional and even international level.  His background in symphonic percussion paved the way for an intense practice routine that acted as the backbone for his Steel Pan career.  After learning the standard Caribbean repertoire, Cote’s band Panoramic View backed him in completing his quest to publish a series of original tunes for steel pan.  Over 200 compositions later, this year Cote plans to release his 7th collection of sheet music and backing tracks for steel pan.  Many of Cote’s original pieces are available for free streaming on online media platforms.  With performance credits ranging from Bobby McFerrin to The Skatalites, to members of Rancid and Wilco, Cote is constantly looking to expand his network and collaboratively create an art form that bridges the gap between cultures.  Among others, Cote has worked remotely on recording projects with Sō Percussion, international reggae star Dr. Ring Ding, and Pan Rocks! featuring Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction.   Despite his heavy background as a freelance artist and recurring member of several bands, Cote consistently performs across the Northeast region with Panoramic View and The Island Time Steel Band. While his career has taken him world-wide, Mr. Cote and his wife Caryn are constantly drawn back to the comfort of their beautiful home state of Rhode Island.

You can find Aaron Abrahamson Cote at the following links:

Hear their latest tracks reimagining the 2nd movement of Beethoven Symphony No.7 on Band Camp here: Beethoven Symphony No. 7 Movement II: Allegretto in Reggae | Panoramic View | Panoramic View Steel Drums (bandcamp.com)

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