Primary Instrument: Drums
Brewed by Noon Tribal rhythms by an Irish griot is how Brewed By Noon leader/percussionist Sean Noonan describes the band. Griot describes a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician. Combining progressive jazz (Weather Report and Miles Davis [Bitches Brew era]), African tribal rhythms and stories (Fela Kuti and Paul Simon's Graceland) mixed with some Irish lyrics and attitude and you have the basis for Brewed By Noon.
Born in Brockton, Massachusetts and a Berklee College graduate, Noonan is a longtime veteran of both aforementioned musical styles. He has played with both Thierno Camara's West African Waaw Band and with the jazz-punk trio, THE HUB. After recovering from a near-fatal car wreck in Italy during 2003, Noonan decided his next project would combine his two musical loves of Jazz and African rhythms.
By the summer of 2004, Brewed by Noon was born. Joining Noonan was bassist/vocalist Thierno Camara, and guitarists Aram Bajakian and Jon Madof, who recorded the groups debut self-titled album during this period. The group's rich and exotic sound was so well received that a second album was soon planned. Titled 'N.Y.' it features a far more expansive supporting cast. Joining Noonan, Camara, Bajakian, and Madof in the studio for the second go-round were guitarist Marc Ribot, violist Mat Maneri, percussionist Jim Pugliese, and singers Susan McKeown, Abdoulaye Diabate, and Dawn Padmore. As a transplant New Yorker (he relocated there in 1999), Noonan explains exactly why he chose the album title. The album is called 'N.Y.' after one of the tracks which takes the listener on a emotional roller coaster - what one might see, feel or hear on a daily basis living in New York. Also, New York is symbolic since it is where I met all these musicians.
The album reflects a diverse melting pot of artists from around theworld - Ireland, Mali, Senegal, Liberia and Armenia. Noonan explains Essentially, I produced the album, but Thierno Camara was heavily involved and would consult with me. Our goal was to get maximum potential out of each artist. I do consider [that] I did all the hard leg work by obtaining a commission from the American Composers Forum, conceived the compositions, directed the rehearsals, chose and consulted with the musicians and finally decided the arrangements. An important thing that I learned was to be decisive and be able to direct and coach people but not force ideas on them. I told everyone to 'just let the music come out - don't look back'. Also, I'd tell them 'we are going to be taking a lot of musical pictures,' and then decided what works and orchestrated it.
It turns out that the tracks 'Esspi' and 'Pineapple' are amongst Noonan's favorites on 'N.Y.' with each having a specific lyrical meaning. 'Esspi' is about a baby elephant that leaves his mother and wanders into the forest getting lost. [Singer] Abdoulaye Diabate asks why the baby left his mother without saying goodbye. 'Pineapple' is a love song that is about two people who just meet each other. It's kind of sexy and romantic. With two albums now under their belt, Brewed by Noon appears to be gaining momentum. Noonan agrees I really want to keep exploring my concept of 'brewing' people, original ideas/concepts and cultures, since I believe it is my mission. I've become very attached to the people I work with. Sometimes I dream about them and have visualizations of what they will do with my music. This record is just a platform presenting many different themes and formulas. I want to dedicate a record to each theme and to tell stories with my music. To learn more about my Gaelic roots and brew it with West African music and improvisation. I also want to explore and create new dimensions to my electro-acoustic drum set and utilize electronics in a way that compliments but challenges my approach to the drums.
Truly a heady brew indeed.