Byron Metcalf is a drummer, percussionist, and recording engineer who also has a Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology. That’s just the beginning.
He has been intensively involved in research on consciousness transformation and spiritual development. He has trained, studied, and worked with shamans and healers from many parts of the world. In particular, he worked with South American shamans from two traditions — don Américo Yábar, an Andean huachumero, and don José Campos, an ayahuasquero currently associated with the Takiwasi Center in Tarapoto.
His music combines shamanic, world, and ambient rhythms, textures, and atmospheres. “My greatest inspirations,” he says, “have come from my inner journeys and explorations of expanded states of consciousness where essential truth, beauty, and reality reveals itself.”
This music originally grew out of his career in counseling. “It occurred to me that with my drumming background,” he says, “I might begin experimenting with some of these ancient shamanic rhythms and techniques, and that perhaps I could use these with some of my counseling clients and in some of the workshops or seminars that I was facilitating. At this point my music and psychology careers started interfacing quite naturally.” And he adds: “Drumming is so utterly primal and basic in its nature that in some way, everyone can respond to it in a way that is positive and, often quite transformative.”
Metcalf’s drumming is not meditative in the traditional ambient-music sense; it is, he says, intended to be traveling music — shamanic, primordial, tribal percussion intended to push the boundaries of reality.
Here are two examples. The first, from the album The Shaman’s Heart, is called Raven Medicine:
And the second, from the album Not Without Risk, is called Primordial Recognition: