On Monday, July 18, a popular artist took the auditorium stage in the Exeter academy building. His name is Randy Armstrong. An artist is just one of the ways to name Armstrong’s profession: he specializes in guitar, several instruments from across the world ranging from Brazilian to Indian, composing, and creating music in the world fusion genre. 

Armstrong’s accolades are similar to his several talents, in that he has many. To name a few, Armstrong has: created an album appearing on national charts, been nominated for “Best World Album ” by the ZMR Music Awards, appeared on over 50 albums, and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. 

Immediately when Armstrong took the stage, he wanted to share his love for performing at Exeter. “I’m very happy to be here at the summer school, it’s one of my favorite concerts to perform at,” he said. “What I love about it is the diversity of the student body here.” Armstrong recalls performing at Exeter at least a dozen times and he loves that he can collect instruments from around the world and showcase them to the diverse study body of Exeter.

Armstrong’s first performance was a song named “Tribute.” Itconsisted of North African, Middle East, Brazilian, and North Indian melodies. Prior to playing the composition, he engaged the crowd by asking who in the student body was from the several areas that influenced the song. When many students raised their hands, Armstrong smiled. 

Following his performance of “Tribute”, Armstrong showcased his abilities to play several other instruments across the world. He played the berimbau from Brazil, the caxixi from Africa, and one of his favorite instruments, the Lakota flute from Native American culture. While playing these instruments, Armstrong engaged the crowd in several clapping rhythms. 

Next, Armstrong showcased a song that he wrote, called Bhaji. Bhaji was inspired by his travels to Jerusalem a few years ago. Armstrong saw the peacefulness of three religions worshiping freely and wrote this song while looking over the Mediterranean from Mount Carmel.   

Armstrong’s final performance was a song from an album he created about peace. During the United Nations International Year of Peace, he had recently signed a record contract with CBS Records and was motivated to devote his album to the topic of peace. “We cannot give up on bringing about peace on this planet,” he said.

The opening song of the album was performed using a Mbira, an African thumb piano. In this song, the chorus sings the word peace in 39 different languages. Although it is difficult to remember 39 words, Armstrong wanted to engage the audience by having the audience sing along to this segment of the chorus. 

Armstrong may have finished his performance, but it is still not too late to meet him or continue to listen to his music. He invited people to join him in four different drumming workshops where he welcomes those to play 30-35 instruments that he has brought with him. If this seems of interest, sign up at student activities. These workshops will take place next Monday and Thursday night at 6:45.