Music is a powerful form of communication, capable of conveying emotion and connecting people in ways that words alone cannot. This is something that multi-talented musician, educator and composer, Simeon Wood, knows all too well. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Simeon on the 100th episode of our podcast to discover more. We even recorded it in an unusual setting – onboard a ship sailing across the Drake Passage towards Antarctica.
Simeon is a flutist, but he also plays a variety of other instruments such as whistles, penny whistles, Celtic whistles, the recorder, the saxophone, and the clarinet. He has even invented some unique instruments, such as the walking stick flute and the bicycle pump. His music is inspiring, and he has been entertaining audiences on cruise ships for over 30 years. He explained that all cruise ships have a guest entertainer on board, and whilst I was there as a guest speaker talking about my polar expedition experiences, it was a great opportunity to attend two of Simeon’s concerts. He had to wear a ‘borrowed wardrobe’ due to his suitcase not arriving with him in South America onboard the flight!
Simeon also shared his belief that humour is an important part of the musical experience, as it breaks down barriers and creates a bond between the performer and the audience. He first realized this when he attended a show featuring flautist Eugenia Zuckerman and two accompanying musicians, a double bass player and a piano player. It was the double bass player, Gary Carr, who caught his attention. He noticed that every fibre of Gary’s being moved to the music, and that his facial expressions married so well with what he was playing. This demonstrated to Simeon that music communicates emotion just as much as the the spoken word does.
His interesting invention the ‘walking stick flute’ came to the attention of former BBC Radio Two presenter Chris Evans, who invited Simeon on his breakfast show to play this instrument. This then led to an appearance at CarFest, the annual family music and motoring festival held in Cheshire and Hampshire, England, which was founded by Chris in 2011, and raises funds for Children in Need, a British charity.
This story is a testament to the power of music to communicate emotion. Music can evoke feelings of joy, sorrow, hope, and comfort, and it can bring people together in a unique and powerful way. Music is a universal language that speaks to us all, and it is capable of conveying emotion in a way that words alone cannot.
You can listen to this 100th episode or read the transcription, and listen to the bonus track from Simeon’s latest album “Feeling Good” at the end of the episode.