Join musician, artist, and author Bill Buchen for a conversation on his book East Village Rundown (Global Village Lowdown). An irreverent tale of a musician and sculptor growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in the Midwest, living as a hippy on the West Coast in the late 60’s, moving to the East Village of New York City in 1977, East Village Rundown weaves together the influence of travel and culture into the music and artwork of this unique journey. Get behind the scenes of the book with photos and videos from Bill’s collection, plus learn about his multi-disciplinary work as an artist.
Artist Bio: Bill Buchen has played music since the age of 10 when he studied piano and clarinet in Minneapolis Minnesota. His interest soon led to percussion where he drums in the percussion section of his high school band, a Hugh Alpert cover band (The Tarnished Brass) and his first rock band, (the Regimentals) playing the music of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, & Muddy Waters. In 1971 he married Mary Buchen and they began their lifelong collaboration of designing and inventing musical instruments & public art. Bill studied percussion with the Minneapolis drummer Steve Kimmel, who helped him get his first musical gig, (The Royal Strings) and (The Dancing Playground) and joined the Whole Earth Rainbow Band in 1972. Later he joined the Sue Drude Quartet playing 6 nights a week at supper clubs honing his jazz skills and played in all kinds of ensembles in the Twin Cities area. After a formative trip to Brazil and carnival in 1976 he returned to Minneapolis and shortly formed his own group (Electric Village) playing his original compositions. A foray into New York’s loft scene with the Steve Kimmel Quartet led to a move to New York City in 1977. In New York he studied at the drummer collective and formed Boneworks, an ensemble playing music on original instruments with Mary Buchen. Since the early 80’s, he was part of the Downtown scene playing at such venues as the Kitchen, Mudd Club, Danceteria, Dance Theater Workshop, La Mama and Carnegie Hall with the Wallets, Ad Hoc Rock, and David Van Tieghem. He also appeared on Broadway in the musical ’Bombay Dreams’ In 1986, BIll and Mary Buchen embarked on an around the world trip to see the music and cultures of other lands culminating in a visit to Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and India. In 1991 they won a grant to study music and architecture from the International Exchange for Scholars and began the first of 23 trips to India.
Since Cuba’s reopening he has made numerous trips to study Cuban rhythms and hear music. Bill has studied tabla (Indian hand drums) with Kadar Khan, Pandit Samir Chattergee, Pt. Anand Kumar Mallick, Ustad Zakir Hussein, and most recently Kanjira with Sri Selva Ganesh. He studied theory and composition with Dan Kaufman and Gustavo Casenave and credits the inspiration and support of Mary Wolff Buchen as the single greatest influence on his work.