Short Biography: Desmond Ivey I am a native of beautiful Caribbean Island Jamaica W.I. I am self taught to play the Guitar, after experimenting and made my first Guitar, because I couldn't afford to purchase one from a music store. The Guitar body was made from plywood, the guitar neck from cedar wood. The keys were also made from cedar wood (pegs) The guitar would not stay tuned because the pegs kept unwinding, therefore, I had to keep a bottle of water to keep the keys wet. When cedar wood is wet it expands, and keep the pegs from unwinding. I use regular wire for strings therefore (you know) the sound was unpleasant but Hey, that's my Guitar. While banging on it, I learn to play Rhythms and keep good timing. I would take it with me every where I go, to make a long story short, after about a year or two I found A shop where I could buy the guitar keys, strings, and the Fret wire and guitar picks (I usually made my picks from plastic bottles, of different thickness) The frets were placed at equal distance and the Guitar action was very hard. (but it strengthen my fingers) After seeing a real guitar up close, I examine it carefully and build my first real Guitar. I suddenly became known, not only as a Guitar player, but a guitar builder as well. After drawing a diagram of the Guitar keyboard, and naming all the notes, a few years later when I bought my first Mel Bay Guitar Book, and saw the same diagram exactly like I drew it years earlier, I was in a state of shock, I felt like my head was expanding. I thought I had some Psychic ability, abviously I was just on the right track...long story.
I study Music Rudiments and Theory and accomplished the Graded test examination, which was offered by The Royal School In England. I also accomplished the Jamaica School Certificate Examination (J.S.C.E.), which Include English Language, Mathematics, Health Science, General Science A., General Science B, Civics, History, Biology and Bible knowledge. I taught these academics subjects in the Public All age School For two years before I was accepted at the Jamaica School Of Music, where I study music and "School Music Teaching". Lastly, I taught music at the "Holy Childhood High School" in Kingston, and the "Oberlin High School", In St. Andrew where I was born.
I played Guitar Duets with my classmates and also with the School's music ensemble. It was really a lot of fun for me, I was also featured on the cover of the School's first, "School Magazine". Then I was discovered by Professor Rex Nettleford (who was the Minister of culture Affairs in Jamaica at that time, 1979) he was also the director of the company called the NDTC (National Dance Theater Company) He needed someone who knew the "Spanish Romance" for Guitar and was able to play it live at the theater, instead of using the recorded version. The piece was choreographed beautifully for a very talented dancing couple, which I enjoyed playing for. The performance was seasonal, and was held at the "Little Theater" in New Kingston Jamaica.
I travel with the NDTC company, to New York City, in November 1980. We Performed at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM) and the John Jay School Of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. I reside in NYC since then working outside the music business trying to make ends meet. No one knew in NYC that I know how to play an instrument, but music is always my first love, I enjoy playing the guitar for everyone, even on the Air Jamaican Airline during my 3 & 1/2hr. Flight to NYC. USA
I wanted to learn more about the Guitar, so I answered an Add, offering Guitar Lessons for All Levels. I was told to bring a note book and my Guitar. I scheduled my first lesson, when I arrived the teacher asked me to play so he would know my level of playing. I played the same selection,"Spanish Romance" for the guitar that I mentioned above, The teacher stared at me as if he saw a ghost, and said I'm sorry I can't help you, your playing is too advanced,
Everybody I told this Story to, had to laugh, it's funny, and they said I should have gone to The Juilliard School. Of Music, and I took their advice. I enrolled in the evening division because I had to work. The School. Is Great and I also had a great teacher! "Dante Rosati" who show me the real playing principles, and the tremolo techniques which you will hear in my CD recordings. I could tell you about my 30yrs+ experience with concerts, TV. Radio and family in Jamaica W.I., but time and space won't allow this. I played all the instruments on all my recordings, and I hope you'll enjoy it. Bye for now. I hope we'll meet one day, somewhere, in the music world. Love, Desmond Ivey