As a prime mover on New York’s downtown “No Wave” scene in the early 1980s, Tomas Doncker cut his teeth as a guitarist with such genre-busting groups as James Chance & The Contortions, Defunkt, J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz and many more. Eventually he went international, touring and recording in Japan with jazz pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, and producing studio and songwriting sessions with Boosty Collins, Yoko Ono, jazz saxophonist Sadao Watanabe and Grammy-winning producer Prince Charles Alexander, to name just a few. Since then, Doncker has continued to work with an A-list of iconic musicians, including Ivan Neville (on his solo album Thanks), Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegeocello, Living Colour lead singer Corey Glover, former P-Funk keyboardist Amp Fiddler…and the list keeps growing.
On his latest effort The Power of the Trinity, Doncker unites with Ethiopian guitarist Selam Woldemariam to create a new form of urban soul funk (“Peace Is Not Fiction”), with bassist Bill Laswell and singer Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw to stretch our consciousness (“Conscience of the World”), Steel Pulse’s own Sidney Mills adds his majestic touch to the proceedings (“King of Kings”), with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa to spotlight an instrument of popular expression (“K’rar”), with Brooklyn rocker Doctor Israel to push the people to action (“Power”), and a party anthem for the hard working man and woman with legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed (“Abet Gurage”).
Power of The Trinity has also been transformed into a stage show. The Tomas Doncker band recently performed two shows at Milwaukee SummerFest, and the multi-media production of “Power of the Trinity” (based on the life of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie) will debut with six shows at NYC Summer stage, including a show in Central Park on July 31st.
Check out five Desert Island Discs from Tomas.
1) Voodoo – D’Angelo (2000)
The quintessential modern R&B album – great songs, great musicianship, great production, great singing. Perhaps one of the most poised and confident sophomore efforts from a ‘new’ artist ever. Most definitely the funkiest album of the last 15 years
2) Stoned – Lewis Taylor (2004)
I heard ‘Shame’ on the radio (college radio of course, commercial radio would never play anything this cool) and went on a tear to find out who it was. The day after I bought this album I immediately purchased the rest of his catalogue. A true pioneer in modern soul music.
3) Hotel Vast Horizon – Chris Whitley (2003)
This album helped me get through rehab. I am always inspired and motivated by guitarist/songwriters who manage to find dierent ways of using the guitar to communicate pure emotion. It’s very hard for me to pick just one Chris Whitley album (like Lewis Taylor, I listen to his whole catalogue constantly.) Two other favorites are Dirt Floor (1998) and Din of Ecstasy (1995). The ultimate “anti-guitar hero.”
4) Survival – Bob Marley & the Wailers (1979)
I saw Bob Marley & the Wailers when I was in college on the Uprising Tour and it changed my life. ‘Nuff said.’
5) Revolver – The Beatles (1966)
The first two albums I ever owned were Sgt Pepper and The Jackson 5’s, Get it Together. That pretty much explains my taste in music – great songs period. I love all of the Beatles’ records but I tend to gravitate towards Revolver the most.