Kevin Brock passes - his rhythm shall be missed

November '08

I'm stunned and deeply saddened to write these words. Kevin Brock, musician and friend, passed Sunday night in his sleep. While it seems to be a peaceful passing, it still feels untimely as he is so young and seemingly healthy. Thus far, the reason for his passing is a mystery. He will be missed tremendously in our community. As a teacher and performer, I know he's affected so many in profound ways. In honor of him, I am writing here to express impact he's made in my life.

If you've ever met Kevin, you've probably been moved by his incredible rhythmic artistry that combined a soulful lyricism with a fiery passionate percussion. His music ranged from world beat percussion to soundscape stories to gypsy jazz. Kevin was also a regular and primary piece of our local Paperhand Puppet Theatre's band. In addition to being a phenomenal musician, he was humble, genuine and kind - one of the most consistently kind beings I have known. He seemed to speak, live and play from his heart.

If you have visited Carrboro for Hoop Convergence or a Hoop Path Retreat, you have been moved by Kevin's beats. His ethereal and funky rhythms have been present at the jams at Beth's during the retreats and the Chestnut Ridge fire dance evening. He was always so grateful to be included in community events that inspired movement.

The first time I met Kevin, between 6-7 years ago, he and another local percussionist, Jill Baldwin, delivered me to a place I didn't know existed. As they played, two girlfriends, Kia and Rebecca, and I danced. Although I had danced to drums before, I had never had such a pure and transcendent experience with movement and rhythm. It was at a difficult time in my life. After the ceremony, I felt healed, exorcised -as in cleared of negative energies that were stuck within my body. I almost saw the spiritual passing of these demons as I embodied the pounding beats. I've always been grateful. Every note seemed to be played or not played with such a spiritual understanding. I'm grateful for Kevin for the healing, for influencing my understanding of the healing power of the drum, and igniting the passion for marrying the dance with the drums beat. Obviously, this has greatly influenced my current path with my rhythmic partner.

Kevin was also my first drum teacher. We exchanged drum and hoop lessons to explore and experience the magic from the other side. We both felt a little stuck in our comfort zone, he afraid to move, and me afraid to create rhythm or express my voice in sound. I remember him offering me my own advice, to play. I was very comforted by his patience and his encouragement. He was so clearly not there to judge my playing. By the end of our trade, we each spun a hoop while shaking, clacking, stomping with bells and tapping cow bell. Kevin also enriched my love of the drum kit and taught me to read music. I'll forever remember, honor and play - loudly - hearing his words of wisdom. It is a rare gift to be both a talented performer and an incredible teacher.

Last night, as Scott & I sad silently between disbelief and despair, I watched my memories of Kevin float by my mind's eye.. Each memory I have seems as powerful as the first. I feel so blessed to have embodied his passionate playing on so many occasions. While our coming together was always centered in music and dance, I also feel blessed to have shared a heartfelt conversation every time. He was so open to hearing the dancers' reflections and desires. If someone knows the power of the dance, she knows the gift of the musician. The last time we shared a song, I bowed at his humble feet. Every experience has been divine---- I am so grateful for his gifts to this world and community.

Sending love to all of Kevin's friends, family, Casey. I can't imagine how great is her pain.

Dancing in honor of your spirit, Kevin.


To hear a bit of Kevin's work...