Rudi Quammie Williams or as he prefers just 'Quammie' is an arts administrator and multi-disciplinary artist working in the commercial and cultural arts. He is a product of York University's Fine Arts and M.B.A programmes and has completed a post-graduate diploma in Arts and Media Administration.
Quammie began his life journey in London, England but soon relocated to San Fernando, in Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up on Jones Street in Mon Repos he learned to roll with the punches and those early childhood experiences developed within him very strong survival instincts. In 1970 at the age of eleven he moved to Toronto, Canada. Music seemed to be his calling, and it was shortly after leaving the land of the scarlet ibis and the humming bird and migrating to the land of the Maple Leaf that he took to playing the valve trombone. He recalls that the first band he played with was 'Titanic with Brass'. Not long after Quammie taught himself to play the bass guitar. After leaving high school he studied acoustic technology at George Brown College. The skills he gained there would serve him well in his future role as a sound engineer and musical producer.
In 1977 he embarked on a new adventure when he joined the Reggae Roots and Culture band 'Truths and Rights' as the resident drummer. 'Truths and Rights' delivered serious message music with such memorable style that any music historian or critic would be extremely remiss if in reflecting on popular music, in Canada during the era of the seventies, they neglected to mention this band. By 1981 Quammie had begun learning the djembe, under the tutelage of Mohindi Masai. Although Quammie has over time achieved a level of mastery with so many instruments it is, undoubtedly, the djembe and a range of African percussion instruments that he is most often identified with.
Quammie has journeyed a very long way to be where he is at presently in terms of his musical style, vision and capabilities. The teachers that have influenced him over the years are many and varied. Worthy of particular mention are Frisner Augustine from Haiti from whom he learned traditional Haitian percussion music. Abraham Adzinyah from Ghana schooled him in traditional percussion music from Ghana and Sankaran the South Indian master musician imparted to him a comprehensive knowledge and proficiency with regard to Indian mrdangam principles. David Kent of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is remembered also as the person primarily responsible for giving him his basic grounding in European orchestral percussion. The end product of all of these influences coupled with years of playing with the full spectrum of musical groups on the Toronto music landscape is a true musical maestro.
Quammie's career has now spanned two decades, encompassing a variety of skills in the disciplines of business, theatre, dance, music, film and video. His expertise in the business of the arts has benefited many arts organizations and individuals. Aside from 'Truths and Rights' he has performed with a wide range of artists including Dr. John, Martha and the Muffins, Judy Mowatt, The Parachute Club, Charmaine Neville, Ellen McIlwaine, Joe Sealey, and Archie Alleyne. He has also been the co-founder and musical director of Usafiri and Sankofa two music and dance ensembles.
As a composer of music for Dance, Theatre and Film, Quammie has created works for Ballet Creole, COBA, Ricardo Keens Douglas, Obsidian Theatre, Anton Wagner and others. Quammie's production experience includes "Step Into My Head", a spoken word and music CD by spoken word artist, Ahdri Zhina Mandiela and "Freshies", a half-hour video documentary on the experiences of Jamaican immigrant youth. He appeared in Djanet Sears' Africa Solo and as a guest entertainer on several episodes of the popular children's programme, Mr. Dress Up.
As musical director and the principal composer of the AHANAIE World Music Collective Quammie has given shape and form to a new body of music and perhaps, what will be viewed in time as, a unique form of artistic expression. As one of the four percussion specialists that make up AHANAIE's musical backbone his contribution is invaluable. But much more than this, Quammie is indeed the very heart of the AHANAIE creative enterprise. He will be responsible for mid-wifing the project and ensuring that the final product, which most immediately involves a CD of musical poems entitled AHANAIE: Weapon of Mass Construction, will reflect the level of talent of all the musicians and artists involved. Everyone in the AHANAIE family is solidly supportive of Quammie. The basis of this support arises from the certainty of knowledge that Rudi Quammie Williams is a seasoned veteran in the area of music production and that he is representative of a new movement of creative arts administrators and artists for whom the opportunity to incorporate new tools and attract an increasingly diversified audience is a welcome challenge.
To see more of what Quammie can do,
visit his website at The Wise Sage Inc.
Go Quammie … Go Quammie … Go Quammie