|I first had the idea for the SOMA band when I was living in Cornwall in the mid 1980’s. It was to be an eclectic mix of world music influences played on acoustic instruments in an organic way. It would be part instrumental and part song, an outlet for my songwriting and my playing.Soma was originally a hallucinogenic drink used by ancient Hindu seers and holy men over 5,000 years ago who used it to “see within” and lift the veil of reality. Eventually it became personified as the god of all artistic and spiritual inspiration, so I thought I would be the perfect name for a band like this. I had been experimenting with some unusual instruments since I was 16 (ish) and had a vague idea of a kit of instruments which would be playable all together. I wanted to break out of the expected role of a percussionist, expand my sonic palette infinitely and see what happened.I also wanted to get into songwriting and express myself fully that way, experimenting with ambient sound and odd time signatures too. In the following years I collected a wide array of instruments which turned out to be the basis of what I now call my ethnic kit. Over the years I took up didgeridoo and various tuned percussion instruments, shruti box, zither, kalimba and tamboura, singing bowls, chimes, Indian cow bells, ting sha, carillion, and gong, to complement the tabla, djembe, darabuka, pipedrum, bongos and congas I already had. It was not until 2005 that my original idea was realised, my kit was semi complete ( it’s still evolving as new ideas crop up and new instruments are added) and I started playing with the guitarist and singer Guy Lambourne and bassist Martin Ward, eventually joined by Rooh Moore on Sitar.
That was the bands first incarnation and we played some great gigs together over about 4 years.
Eventually Rooh moved away, Martin moved on and Guy left, just as my old mate Steve Anthony (bass guitar, guitar udu percussion and vocals) came back from Finland, and, along with Steve Austin (flautist extra-ordinaire plus percussion) and Gillian Marchant (udu, djembe and percussionist) SOMA entered its second incarnation which is where it is now.
The idea has always been that there would be a central group of band members who could be supplemented by guest musicians from time to time. If you are interested in joining us for a spell do get in touch we are open to all suggestions.
SOMA is the culmination of everything I have done to date and draws on my song writing, arranging, singing, playing, recording, drawing and “D.I.Y” experience ( my setup needs some ingenious problem solving to make it work!).
The music has been through some changes of course but it has remained true to its spirit of originality.
Here’s one of our flyers which puts it well I think!
A powerful blend of ethnic soundscapes, songs and set pieces resulting in totally original music, by turns meditative, ethereal, vibrant, rhythmic and melodic.
SOMA is breaking new ground!
“INDO AFRO DIDGERIBLUES!”
“From sublime ambience to ecstatic exuberance”
Steve Austin: Shakuhachi flute, native American flutes, low D whistle, tin whistle, Bulgarian whistle, assorted percussion and djembe drum.
Steve Anthony: Vocals, bass guitar, udu, assorted percussion.
Chris Puleston: Vocals, didgeridoos, tabla, tamboura, zither, singing bowls, ting sha, gong, carrillion, balafon, djembe, darabuka, bongos, shruti box etc.
Gillian Marchant: Udu, vocals, assorted percussion.
Contact. Chris Puleston 01462 711630