Meet Seamus Blake

Global Musician Workshop Faculty Member

March 17, 2016

Seamus Blake is recognized as one of today’s finest contemporary jazz musicians. A composer and saxophonist, his music is known for its sophistication, bold improvisation, and “sheet swagger.”


Seamus will join us this June to teach at our second annual Global Musician Workshop. He took a few minutes to share his perspectives on what it means to be a global musician today.


What does it mean to be a global musician?

A global musician is aware of the many styles of music and loves different musical traditions from all over the world. As frequent world travelers, we see the interconnectedness between different musical traditions and cultures.

What do you look for in an artistic collaborator? 

I look for someone who shares my musical ideals. I appreciate someone who strives for good melody, captivating harmony, and deep rhythm. For example, I once collaborated with Turkish musician Burhan Ocal. We combined Turkish rhythms and melodies with an electric jazz group that I put together. It was an exotic blend that worked very well.

What do you see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for the younger generation of musicians?   Young musicians now have an incredible universe at their fingertips. The whole history of music is a few mouse clicks away. Now more than ever, musicians can be fluent in many styles and possess a great deal of knowledge about their history.

But it is important that with all this stimulation they do not forget to listen closely to the music within themselves.

What are you most excited about for the 2016 Global Musician Workshop?   I am looking forward to collaborating with many different musicians, to share some compositions, and meet new friends. 

Applications for the Global Musician Workshop (GMW) close on April 1. GMW’s mission is to foster a community of globally minded musicians engaged in learning from one another’s traditions and incorporating them into their own artistic voices. An all-star artist-faculty will teach styles of music from across the world. GMW is directed by Silk Road Ensemble cellist Mike Block.

In addition to Seamus, faculty include Sandeep Das (Indian tabla), Hadi Eldebek (Arabic oud), Gamin (Korean wind instruments), Maeve Gilchrist (Celtic harp/vocals), Bruce Molsky (Old-time Appalachian fiddle), Balla Kouyate (Malian balafon), Edward Perez (Afro-Latin bass), Shane Shanahan (world percussion), Abigail Washburn (Banjo/Vocals mixing American/Chinese styles), and GMW Director Mike Block (multi-style strings).