How I finally broke down the blocks to creativity Part 2

In the first Part of this series, I briefly explained how creating music was always a challenging task. My first experience at a Panorama final was a turning point in how I approached creativity after being exposed to how much can be done to a simple melody to develop it.


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After this, I spent months trying to “unwind” melodic ideas that came to me mainly through trial and error. However, as I mentioned in Part 1, creating music definitely was not my forte and I still was not satisfied with the “2-dimensional” products. The pieces never went anywhere musically that made much sense.

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Photography by Amanda Elliot

Learning to accept my imperfections was part of the process. This was a marker of where I was musically at the time and with practice, I knew that I would improve. Listening to music that had interesting dimensions to it was also important. I love flamenco and Middle Eastern styles so listening to Paco de Lucia was a regular part of my car routine. Paco fused flamenco with jazz and was also a virtuoso guitarist – still my favourite to date. I also enjoyed listening to Arabic music while enjoying a coffee at Layali Café in Diego Martin. Conversations with the owner who was from Qatar, encouraged me to expand my listening choices. I began exploring Arabic music and enjoyed finding and listening to music from countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. Interestingly, Arabic music, Flamenco and Indian music all bear striking similarities. Think about the dances as well…they all have much in common. (Maybe exploring the history behind this could be a later blog.)

I became determined to create something with a Middle Eastern sound!

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My abstract art class 

In November 2017, my good friend, Zaidee Walker of Pink Boat Studios was offering art classes. My wife, Olivia and I decided to book her to come to our home for a private session. We thought that it would be interesting to try something different. It was arranged like a “sip and paint” experience. Zaidee came with an abstract art session planned. We started with a blank canvas and made our first strokes with absolutely no idea as to what we wanted the final product to look like. She guided us every step of the way, giving us ideas on how to use the different colours. As the paintings began to develop, we then tried to find shapes within them that we could start focusing on. For example, if you saw an elephant amongst your random splatters of paint, then you were encouraged to develop the elephant. It was a creative journey that began with a completely blank slate and as we progressed in the painting, it became something that made sense to us the artists, but maybe not so much to the outside viewer. It was a very exciting experience, especially as our “elephants” began taking shape. We had fun and actually felt proud of our final pieces.

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As if that creative abstract art session with Zaidee unlocked something within my mind, I yearned for my guitar that night. That iconic Arabic phrasing also came to me so effortlessly! I fooled around with a melody for about 2-3 hours that night, trying different things but loving all of it. My creative juices were flowing. It was probably the most annoying thing for anyone listening on the outside though, hearing the same melody for hours on end. My neighbours probably turned up their TV’s that night. However, all my effort and desire to create, converged in that moment, magically triggered by a creative release in another form of art – painting. Who would have known or predicted?

The piece I created and finalized over the course of 2 weeks since that art session was eventually titled “Rumba Exotica”. I haven’t yet published it. However, very excitingly for me, it is to be presented for the first time at my next show, “The Art of Guitar” on Mother’s Day weekend 2018. It has to be a spectacle and so I invited the Cascade Festival Ballet Company to dance to that specific piece, therefore giving it another dimension of flair and Arabic Beauty. It is to be one of the highlight pieces. I can’t wait!!! My transition from Instrumentalist to Musician to Artist is finally “unwinding” and becoming evident.

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Cascade Festival Ballet

In the final part to this series, I demonstrate how I have indeed broken down the blocks to creativity and I give some insight on my plans for the future.    


Original piece “Island Beauty"


Guitarist Stefan Roach presents
Art of Guitar 6"The Art of Guitar"

Mother’s Day Weekend, 
12th and 13th May, 2018
@Little Carib Theatre

Featuring Collaborations with:
- Los Gitanos - Rhys Thompson, Aaron Lowchewtung, Mikhail Moore, Marc Mahase
- Sitarist Sharda Patasar
- Versatile Soprano Raquel Winchester
- Violinist Abigail Cooper
- Pannist Luke Walker
- Cascade Festival Ballet Company
- EVP Dance Company

Cost - $200 (Part Proceeds to Living Water Community)

Sponsored by Fresh Start Limited & Sheldon Alignment and Tyre Centre

Tickets available at Arts and Antiques, West Mall or Ross Photography, C3 or contact 487-1360, 499-9202 or 778-1762


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© Stefan Roach 2013