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Music Memory - Chris Cawthray

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the "Music For Memory Project":  a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

Chris Cawthray is a Toronto based drummer and percussionist. His current projects are ¡DO! (a drums and organ duo) and CC3 (a trio featuring American guitarist Rob Price), performing Chris' unique musical perspective where jazz meets roots, reggae, 70s soft-rock, and the avant-garde. Chris' other passion is music education; he runs a drum school in Toronto called DrumEveryDay.

"Sometime in the early 60s my Dad gave his mother an unusual Christmas present: a set of tiny Cuban-style bongo drums. It was very clear to all that he wanted these bongos for himself, but the only way to justify them was to give them to his Mom, my grandmother, as a gift. They ended up being a curiosity on my grandmother's shelves, sitting silent, perched high.

When I came onto the scene in the mid-70s I was fascinated by "grandma's bongos" and would mess around with them whenever I visited her. These were the first drums I think I ever played in what has become a lifelong devotion to drumming and music; and coincidentally my first drum set was given to me by my grandfather on my mother's side, an amateur drummer himself.

My Grandmother contracted Alzheimer's in her late 70s and when she moved out of her home to assisted living, her bongo drums finally came home to me. My Grandmother survived through her condition for another decade with incredibly bravery and dignity and her bongo drums now sit in a place of honour in my home. I am honoured and beyond fortunate to have a life as a professional musician, and I am certain it would be not be possible without the support of my family."

For more about Chris, visit

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