Meeting retired music teacher James Bailey in June 2016 over a cup of coffee in Adelaide Hills, Australia, we developed a concept for a collaborative job that would involve three countries, the Las Vegas neighborhood, and 3 departments on the UNLV school.
Marimba building is a carefully guarded craft, with only a handful specialists running worldwide. Baily had constructed 40 marimbas in his profession, however was now retired. He wanted to make one more marimba, but this time to document the process– not just for his legacy, however to show marimba players just how much work enters into the making of the instrument, permitting them to value their instrument in a much deeper way.
In January Bailey and the UNLV Percussion Studio began to construct a five-octave performance marimba on the UNLV campus. Not only did we start the project in its own right, but we dealt with two film trainees to turn the procedure into a first-of-its-kind documentary.
Similar in appearance to a xylophone, a marimba is a percussion instrument that consists of a set of wooden bars organized like the keys of a piano and struck with mallets. Underneath, a series of pipelines, called resonators, aid amplify the noise.