Monday, November 5, 2007

Yoli Yoli (marimba duet with Tony Levin)

yoli yoli
volume 2 number 6

in honor of T-Lev's recent Lifetime Achievement Award, here is an improvised duet from 1983. tony levin is the consummate musician.
one who amazes those who work with him with his unique ability to discern perfectly the notes to chose (or not to chose) and to do so with such creative flair as to re-invent the instruments he plays.

one afternoon tony and I discovered a full-sized marimba tucked away in the corner of the Marcus Studio in London. he commandeered the low side (of course) while I attacked the high end. we improvised a nice little piece based on a variation of the waiting man rhythm. we perfected it in a quick pass or two then asked our recording engineer Brad Davis to record it. I remember frequent sideway glances between tony and myself to get the changes correct. it was just a serendipitous moment of fun in one of the many pauses so common to record-making, but a satisfying one.

later I tried to make something more of it by writing words and melody. I envisioned a kind of follow-up to waiting man. the return of the waiting man was called yoli yoli. I recorded the vocal. it was an abject failure. no one liked it. eventually that included me and the idea was dropped.

but I still like our cozy little improv.

low marimba: tony levin
high marimba: adrian

engineer: brad davis

recorded at Marcus Studio, London, England

on June 7, 1983

length: 3:04


  1. All H, e, double toothpicks had broke out in our living room while I was downloading this file. My 2&4 yo(s) were just having a great time, and vocalizing it. So I turn this song on ... calm, quiet, they were listening. They started playing quietly. So I pushed the repeat button, loops nicely. They totally chilled to this. Me too.

    Needless to say, I love this song. Thanks!


  2. hate to be such a noob, but where do you click to download the tracks?

    Thanks for the blog, Adrian, it's great reading...

  3. Shane,

    To download Yoli Yoli, go to, click on the elephantblog link and at the top on the right hand side of Adrian's blog, click the StoreBelew link.
    You can also access it here:

    Once you're there, simply click on the link that reads, Buy This Song.

    You can also hear a sample of it by clicking on the album art and then the little orange music note.

    Hope this helps.


  4. Adrian -

    Quite enjoyed this. Though off the cuff, it sounded halfway formed, as if a musical idea were returning to try a different set of tools.

    It may be that you did such a good job with "Waiting Man", there was no way to better it or pick up the story, though I wonder if he ever found the one he was waiting for, and who they were.

    Thank you for sharing this.