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Legendary drummer Billy Cobham is the subject of a documentary film entitled Sonic Mirror. The movie directed by Finland's Mika Kaurismäki has wrapped principal photography and is scheduled for release in early 2007. Sonic Mirror follows Cobham on a journey into several different musical cultures around the world, including Switzerland, New York, Brazil, and Finland. It presents music as a source of self-awareness and as a mirror of the communication between the musicians themselves, as well as between the musicians and the audience.

"Billy's contributions to the world of drumming are legendary, and this documentary film will only add to his long list of outstanding achievements. Yamaha Drums is proud to have him as a member of our artist roster," comments Joe Testa, international artist relations manager for Yamaha Drums.

The road movie opens in Switzerland, showing the band Swiss Mix performing a mix of Swiss folk music and world music in concert, seen and heard through the eyes and ears of a family of farmers.

Next stop is New York, where we learn about Cobham's musical roots and how he became one of the legendary musicians on par with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, having revolutionized jazz and inspired new musical dimensions in pop, electronic, and world music.

Cobham then travels to Salvador-Bahia, Brazil and comes across the rhythmical traditions of Brazil and African Diaspora. He visits the kids of a Samba Block named Malé Debalé and together with them develops rhythms using traditional Brazilian instruments. He is pupil and teacher at the same time and depends on music as a means of communication due to the language barriers.

Back to Switzerland, the film shows how a drum session in a psychiatric clinic turns into a journey to the roots of communication. Drawing on his earlier experience in musical therapy, Cobham tries to introduce percussion as a language between the musicians and the autistic inmates in Konolfingen, Switzerland. He delves into the interdisciplinary subjects of psycho-acoustics and vibration perception. The movie focuses on the actions and reactions of music and audience. Music becomes a mirror of the consciousness, especially where the rules of interpersonal communication still remain unexplained.

The last episode takes the viewer to the Espoo Jazz Festival in Helsinki, Finland, where Cobham and the Espoo Big Band perform Cobham's own compositions, a collection of 40 years of experience and creativity in world music.

The legendary Cobham has performed on hundreds of records with his own groups and with some of the music's most luminary artists, and his trademark – biggest, fastest, explosive drumming – has energized the international stages of concerts, symphonies, big bands, Broadway, festivals, television, and video. He has been a teacher of his artistry, giving drum clinics, conducting workshops and symposiums throughout the world. Cobham's stylistic influence, which has literally created a category of music, is an outstanding part of the history of modern music. In recognition of all his esteemed accomplishments, Cobham will be inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame, November 2006.




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