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Musician & Percussionist / Leipzig - Germany

Andreas Loh

Conny Sommer

Hello Conny, thank you for taking the time for this short interview.

… gladly !

Describe a “normal day” in your life.

Get up and then COFFEE.
Morning: Office, booking and practice
Afternoons & evenings: working on current projects, drum events, performances, lessons and sports.

And a perfect day... What can't be missing?

Enough time for a second coffee in the morning, alertness, inspiration and a HOKEMA kalimba nearby.

When did music come into your life?

It was always there, as far back as I can remember. My brother could build ANYTHING out of Lego when I was five. At the same time, at the age of four, I could recite my father's records and tapes by heart. At the same time, I started making music myself. First with a harmonica, later the trumpet, and from the age of 16, percussion.

When and how did you get to know HOKEMA instruments?

I own one of the first classical kalimbas and one of the first sansulas that Peter Hokema built, since the company's history began in the 1980s. In 2016, I met Peter Hokema personally at a concert and have had a close partnership with the company ever since.

How and when do you use the Sansula / Kalimba?

Very different: I like to use the 11-note Sansula at concerts for small melody and chord accompaniments. The 17-note Kalimba - usually retuned - in a similar way. The 9-note Sansula is often used for relaxation sessions at workshops.

How do listeners react to the instruments and their sounds?

Usually very emotional and very enthusiastic. Many are amazed at how such a small instrument can sound so magical and versatile. And then you always have the exotic bonus when you play it live. It's not uncommon for me to find myself on stage with virtuoso musicians at smaller concerts who conjure up beautiful music in the hall all evening, and at the end a crowd forms around the percussion terminal because everyone is interested in the kalimba, which could be heard for a few minutes in three or four well-placed places.

Do you think that HOKEMA instruments could be considered “serious” musical instruments?

Anders: I don't understand why there are people who do NOT see these magical instruments as serious instruments. However, they have melodic limitations and are strictly diatonic, which is particularly problematic in music that modulates heavily.

What is your favorite HOKEMA instrument?

The Kalimba B11 Electric . Even though it is very limited melodically and harmonically, there are many possibilities for rhythmic and tonal development.

Biographical information

Conny Sommer is a professional percussionist. He has played live and in the studio for star tenor Rolando Villazón, the NDR Big Band, the NDR Radio Orchestra, the MDR Symphony Orchestra, Dieter Thomas Kuhn, the Fehlfarben and many more. He was a member of the musical ensemble of "The Lion King" in Hamburg for 8 years, wrote numerous textbooks for various percussion and percussion instruments and taught at music colleges in Hamburg, Nuremberg and Leipzig. Since the mid-1990s he has been giving workshops for cajon, percussion, kalimba and handpan.

Interview: Sascha (Team Hokema)

Das Lieblingsinstrument von Conny Sommer:

HOKEMA - Kalimba B11 Elektro