So, how did this all started?
The project officially started in October 2010 but the story begins a bit before that. to understand the O7 origins I'll have to go back a few years, to my personal story in another drum project.
I started playing drums at this project called Toca Rufar, back in Portugal. I was 18. Yes, a long time ago. It was a brand new project with the objective of having a massive group of 300 players playing drums at the Expo 1998 in Lisbon. We trained for two years for that it happened... and I didn't get to participate. I was playing at a Casino. But that's a story for another time.
I didn't quite knew what I was getting into. Like many things in my life, I just did, without thinking. Turns out that it was my thing and I was quite good at it. Later on I found out that, more than playing, what really made me feel like fish in the water was to direct, to teach and to develop shows. After a year or so in the project I started conducting the group. after another year I started directing the rehearsals. Was quite a challenge to teach a contemporary piece for the first time to a 300 orchestra of drums. Some people in the project management though it was a mistake but Rui Junior, the projects founder and director backed me up and let me do my thing. We spent lot's of time together. I lived for the project and soon became my life. Rui Junior became like a father to me and for many years we shared dreams an ideas for the project and the result of that synergy changed and influenced the drum groups and orchestras all over the country. The relation went sour at the end but, again, that's a story for another time.
Well, for 13 years I directed the project orchestra and developed new concepts that very quickly were assimilated by other groups and orchestras.. Around 2009 changes started to happen and after that it all went downhill. Things changed. Ideas changed. Maybe people changed as well. I don't know. Er... I do know. But don't really want to talk about it. I quit the project. Sheila, my wife, who also worked for many years in the project, also quit. Both in the period of two months.We just didn't agreed with Rui's new ideas and methods and, generally, what he wanted the project to become. It was hard and it was a painful separation but we did it.
Not long after I started the O7 drum project. Many students left the Toca Rufar project. Some came to O7. Most just left because, you know... I wasn't there. I started the project with the help of Jaime Neves, president of a Martial Arts club in Almada. Oh yes, we started rehearsals at a Muay Thay academy. And also with the help of Marte Ciro, good friend and musician, who gave me lot's of used drumheads and his pipe drums to start banging. The O7 drums concept was born from his drums. I just gave them a little twist and made them look...well... stylish. I actually intended to buy proper drums. Traditional one's, like everyone else. Hadn't any money though. Best thing to make you come up with good ideas. I got my hands to work and made quite a few. The project developed and matured. We've had quite a few adventures and unforgeable performances but I'll leave those story's for the players. Now I live in England and started the project here. A all new set of challenges! The Portuguese O7 group is still drumming and I must say it's special. I thought that the project was finished after I left Portugal but no, they refuse to end it. They refuse to stop playing. The development is slow and sometimes it's quite hard to have my ideas across but they don't give up. An amazing group of teenagers.
There are so many story's around Toca Rufar and O7 that I don't even know how to start. Also, as you can see, I'm not a writer. I'll do my best to share them.