Challenge: Cerebral Palsy
James Downing is a Cajon player from Cork in Ireland. He adds "Cerebral Palsy is my disability and I do my best not to let it get in the way too much of my musical endeavours".
James was originally a drum set player to begin with but recently he moved a 'Cajon' (Pronounced Ka-Hone) the national instrument of Peru, which some people refer to as a: "Drum-Kit in a box".
James has been only playing cajon for 3 years, however he adds "I have been playing various percussive instruments since the age of ten". With Cajon James thinks he has found a medium that he can express myself really well through.
Recently James has also taken up vocal lessons in order to add another dimension to live performances. He adds "I currently manage and play/harmonize in a Band called 'The Shruggs' here in Ireland".
James adds "here is a live performance The Shruggs did on BalconyTV". The Shruggs also have a few releases up on Itunes. He says "To date we have appeared on national Tv and Radio and are really enjoying the ride.
The Shruggs have released a Charity single called Keep On Smiling in aid of Irish Suicide Prevention/Awareness organisation. Proceeds from Itunes Download go to the Charity. The Shruggs have also released a video The Ooh Song.
James adds "We play local gigs here in bars and clubs regularly and really enjoy the live vibes, as for a career highlight I would have to say it was supporting legend of the Irish music scene 'Mark Geary' and 'The Ooh Song' being one of the top voted videos of all time on the BalconyTv Platform".
James says he has so many influences it's hard to know where to start. He adds "I really enjoy listening to drummers like: Jeff Porcaro, Carter Beauford, Steve Gadd and John Bonham anyone with 'swing' really". On Cajon, James gets influence from players such as Paul Jennings who has been a huge inspiration. He says "Other players worth a mention are: Paquito Gonzalez, Heidi Joubert, Jimmy Lopez, Hormero Chavez and Ross McCallum".
The Cajon James plays live and record in studio most often with is a Sela 'Pro' model. He adds "I like to play with both hands and Cajon Brush which sound really great and funky". When asked what motivates James, he says "That is the easiest question to answer... I love to play, If I couldn't play I think i'd really be in alot of bother, rhythm is the constant that never seems to leave and I'd be lost without that avenue".
Keep on Smiling By The Shruggs