Student musicians at UA find harmony in their crafts

by Sophie Yang, ’19

Irish Fiddler: Sadie Perry

Although studying violin isn’t an uncommon pursuit, junior Sadie Perry takes the instrument in an entirely different direction with Irish fiddle music.

Photo by Charlotte Janes.

Perry picked up the classical violin in her early childhood, then switched to the fiddling style in the 2nd grade, later competing at local and regional festivals for fiddle and other Irish instruments.

“I won tons of those,” Perry said, “all ranging from 1st to 3rd place in local level competitions.”

Perry has also traveled to Ireland in the summer for the Fleadh Cheoil, the “Olympics of Irish music.” She has attended four times, performing at a world  level in mandolin tunes, tin whistle airs and Irish tune writing.

Though Perry has never placed at world level, the festival holds a place in her heart.

“They make it crazy . . . thousands of people all converging in on one city just to celebrate Irish culture and music and heritage,” Perry said.

Perry, who plays in classical style in UAHS’s symphony orchestra as well, described the variation between violin and fiddle as a solely “musical, cultural difference.” The instruments themselves are completely alike.

“[With Irish], you have your general tune that’s written on the paper . . . and it’ll be straight-up notes,” Perry said. “But when you hear someone play that piece in person, they’ll throw in a roll or a cut or a double stop . . . It’s all spontaneous. I’ve never played the same tune even twice.”

Regardless of the genre, music and the fiddle have had an immense impact on Perry over the years.

“I had a very, very difficult sophomore year, and I contemplated suicide a lot . . . But my instruments kept me going, and my friends and my family. Maybe it’s just that connection with my violin that saved me,” Perry said. “It’s just something I have a really deep connection to.”

Rhythm and Rhyme: Dylan Davis

For junior Dylan Davis, creating rap and rock music is his passion. Between working on an album for a band “The Basement Project” to releasing singles and albums on SoundCloud under the alias ‘Myle$ Davi$,’ much of his time that doesn’t go toward schoolwork and his job is spent writing and recording original music.

Photo courtesy Dylan Davis.

For Davis’s recent works, which include tracks like “Lookin’ Fly,” his creation process starts with an emotion or idea. Then, it’s writing and finding a beat — usually a track online or an instrumental made by friend Eli Collamore, who also mixes Davis’s music.

“I actually dropped an album three weeks ago,” Davis said. “I just reached 5000 plays total on all of my music.”

On Jan. 15, Davis also organized a concert for his music.

“I was paying security guards, a sound engineer [and] just to hold the venue,” Davis said. “When it got to the day of the concert, I was really stressed, but . . . it was so much fun just to be there.”

Davis began rapping in 2nd grade, and he said music has had a real impact on his life.

“I’ve kind of learned to be outspoken and talk more freely about what I believe,” Davis said. “I don’t know what I would be doing without music . . . [It’s] just one thing that I know will never leave me.”

88 Keys: Abhik Mazumder

Junior Abhik Mazumder first began piano lessons at age 4 as a way to occupy his energy. Soon labelled a prodigy and playing Carnegie Hall two years later, the plan worked better than expected.

Photo courtesy Zach Compston.

With a spot in the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra and plans to accompany Cleveland Philharmonic this March, Mazumder’s days are imbued with music. Yet, to Mazumder, music represents far more than achievements.

“At first, it was something I did because my parents wanted me to, but it eventually became the most important thing in my life,” Mazumder said.

Jazz, which he began studying in his middle school years, is something Mazumder especially enjoys for its exploratory, improvised nature. And, in a step past improvisation, Mazumder has recently taken up music composition.

“I’m trying to compose as much as I can. It’s a hard process because whatever you create, there’s something better before it,” Mazumder said. “But I try to stick with an idea and develop it the best that I can.”

Mazumder, who at age 16 no longer considers himself a prodigy, said he plays to “serve the music” and evoke emotion in the audience, and he doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon.

“It’s really fulfilling for my heart,” Mazumder said. “Without music . . . I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate emotions as much. Just embracing connections with other people has shown me that.