John Westmoreland is a native Chatham County musician who plays guitar with the band Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba. John will use his Emerging Artist grant to travel to Peru to study with “curanderos” or spiritual healers who use music as a healing modality through “icaros”, or songs sung in healing ceremonies. John’s belief is that music comes from a sacred space within us capable of healing both our bodies and minds. We sat down with John to learn more about his passion for music and its ability to heal. Here’s what he had to say.
What is your first memory of creating art?
My first memory is sitting on my dad’s lap strumming his classical guitar.
Where does your creative inspiration stem from?
It comes from a nameless space, from the spirit, a connection to the universe and all that is.
What tends to be your favorite subject matter?
Growing up I was influenced by blues and rock and roll, from artists like Jimi Hendrix to George Harrison. Through the years I have been influenced by jazz and by my love of classical musicians like Bach. Recently I have drawn from West African and South American music.
Briefly describe your creative process and technique.
I like to allow for genres to mix together and evolve and not be too rigid.