The Algonquin Times, Ottawa ON
Through a tapestry of musical athletics, Shane Philip taught a small crowd at the Ob that creativity knows no bounds.
On Oct. 6, this one-man phenomenon dropped by Algonquin to perform in his unique style, pushing the boundaries of musical genres.
Combining the sounds of a didgeridoo, djembe, and lap-slide guitar, he creates an expressive swell that compels his audience to groove along with him. He calls this mix “island soul,” referring to his home on Quadra Island, B.C.
“I got into music to touch lives,” said Philip.
Before becoming a touring musician, he started out as a high school teacher with this goal in mind.
However, the regimented schedule, and the endless workload forced him to rethink his profession and do some soul searching.
“It just took too much of my life. It was sucking my soul away,” said Philip. “If I’m going to devote my entire life to something, I’m going to try to make it my passion.
“I want to blur all the boundaries, that’s why I got out of teaching,” he added.
Since leaving the teaching world, Philip has never looked back. He is now able to touch people’s lives in a different way, without feeling like he’s trapped within a regimented system.
“No one ever applauded at the end of a class like they do at the end of a show,” said Philip.
Borrowing from reggae, folk, blues and other genres, Philip’s eclectic sound is captivating and hard to resist. Andrew Dobson, a third year architecture student and his friend Katie Stevens were on their way to paint when they were caught up in the encompassing swell of the didgeridoo.
“We were just walking by and were totally drawn in,” said Stevens, who wasn’t planning on attending the show.
Former Algonquin student, Ember Erebus also broke her plans and decided to take in the free concert.
“We were going to a movie and Katie said there’s this awesome guy playing,” said Erebus.
Philip sees his interaction with the crowd as an integral part of his performance. It’s as if he is conversing with the listeners through rhythm and sound.
“They don’t come here to hear songs,” said Philip. “They come here to experience moments.
“Were going to build a show together, me and the crowd,” he said. “I don’t believe that it’s going to be me against them. We’re in it together.”
Philip never makes a set list. He chooses his songs by reading the crowd. This interplay between audience and artist allows his music to be appreciated and loved by both the young and the old.
“People are people, straight across,” said Philip. “Music is universal. It’s ageless. It’s timeless. That’s the power of music; it can move people and can make people feel good.”