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DIVINITY RDXX
I
Ladies and gentlemen, meet one ol planet Earth's funkiest
bassists - Divinity Roxx. M ike Brooks says hello
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Photography by Lckie
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ne of the high points of this year's
London Bass Guitar Show was a
fiery performance by the
dreadlocked whirlwind, Miss
Divinity Roxx, or Deborah Walker
to her friends and family. Those
not familiar with her previous
work on the
Words And Tones, Live In America
and
Soul
Circus
albums by Victor Wooten and
Little Worlds
by
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones were left with an indelible
impression burnt into their consciousness following her
masterclass and main stage appearances. With her band
in tow, she performed like a whirling dervish, delivering
a hypnotic mix of hip-hop, funk, rock and groove. This
lady means what she plays, as her passionate delivery
illustrates. “Everyone should play from the heart" she
tells
BGM
backstage. “My heart is pounding with
passion. I know I can come across aggressive - that's so
funny, I get it. I was told that I came across aggressive
when I performed here - and when I watched the video,
I had to agree!"
For many, this will have been their first opportunity
to see Divinity perform, particularly as the focal point of
her own band. She's often filled the bassist/sideperson
role, most notably for Beyonce Knowles from 2006
through to 2011, appearing on several DVDs and albums
including
The Beyonce Experience Live, I Am.
.. Sasha Fierce
and
Irreplaceable: Live At Glastonbury.
However, being the
bandleader carries with it some very different demands.
Does she have a preference for one over the other?
With a wry smile, Divinity replies, “It depends on the
overall situation. I enjoy being a sideperson because I
enjoy playing bass, I just love it, so I love being on the
side, jamming and doing my thing, you know. I really
enjoy being a bass player, but there's another part of me,
the artist, inside of me - and there's a lyricist, this person
who has something to say to the world and something
to express. The only way I can get to do that is to be the
frontperson in my band. So when I'm being a bass player,
that's when you see the split personality, because the
other personality starts nudging on me, so I have to have
a moment where both of those things come together. I
enjoy being just the frontperson too, with no bass guitar!
That's always fun because that's what I was before - I
still like to get on the mic and spit rhymes and perform"
Prior to her appearances at the London Bass Show,
Divinity embarked on a European tour with her band, so
the musicians were in perfect shape for their sets at the
show, as was clearly evident to those in attendance. Yet
even the best-laid plans can present their own pitfalls,
as Divinity explains. “We did two weeks, 14 shows in
17 days, which was tiring but I got my chops up. I like
that because when you're playing every night, you just
get tighter and tighter as a band, and as a unit you start
exploring things that you weren't exploring before. I'm
a firm believer that the best practice is onstage: basically
every night, I'm practising onstage in front of people.
The band evolves through that process."
She adds: “The crazy thing about this tour was that
we only rehearsed for a week, and everything was going
wrong in rehearsals. We did this show with tracks so
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