It’s not too often accomplished musicians get to stray from their beaten path and create something truly original.
But that’s exactly what Epaminondas “Nonda” Trimis did with his latest album, published last month. “Play the Earth” is a family-produced work full of personal symbolism and reflection of their roots on the Coastside.
The work fuses natural sounds from places like Montara State Beach and Purisma Canyon. His mother, Michaele Benedict, a writer and Montara resident, contributed personal poems while Trimis’ son Christopher co-produced the album. Trimis, who was born in Greece, moved to the Coastside from San Francisco as a teenager. He lived in Purisima Canyon, then Montara, while attending Half Moon Bay High School.
“I think a lot of it was growing up with a lot of Latin music, studying at San Francisco State,” Trimis said. “Then going to L.A. to study with all the studio percussionists, just being exposed to lots of different types of music.”
Trimis’ musical ability and style comes from a truly
diverse skill set. At age 61,
he’s an accomplished drummer in big bands and jazz groups. He played at the White House in 1998 when he was invited to perform his co-produced
music with Gary Stroutsos
for Ken Burns’ “Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery” for President Clinton. He’s currently the drummer and percussionist for the Easy Street Band, a nine-piece jazz swing group based in
Seattle, where he resides.
“I like to think of myself as a true percussionist instead of just a drummer,” Trimis said. “I really enjoy playing the whole spectrum of percussion instruments.”
There’s a collection of intriguing instruments played throughout the album, from traditional drums to bamboo flutes, which were handmade by Trimis.
“Play the Earth” offers deeply intimate songs, referencing family history and roots in Half Moon Bay. “Droplets” includes a recording his mother had taken of their leaky faucet nearly 50 years ago in Purisima Canyon, while “Play the Earth” combines multiple symbolic elements, interweaving his mother’s typewriter, heartbeats and poetry.
“It’s an invitation for everyone to get in touch with the Earth,” Trimis said. “And play the Earth, understand it, and work with it.”