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By Noah Hubbell
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Husband-and-wife team Gilly Gonzales and Lisa Wimberger have their fingers in a lot of pies. The two percussionists most often keep the beat using massive, booming drums, but their collaborative project, Lil Sum'n Sum'n, allows them to break out many of their rarer, more subtle instruments — of which there are many. We asked Wimberger about creating their latest album, Into the Deep, the release party, and what it's like to play tunes with your significant other.
Westword: How is Into the Deep different from some of the other album work you've done?
Lisa Wimberger: Our previous album was percussion-focused, but there were some melodic instruments on top of it. This one, we wanted to feature the melody of drums. They have such a vast spectrum of melody that becomes really lost because they just become the timekeepers in a lot of other projects. We focused on making each song have a voice, a melody, and distinguish each song from the other so that the album itself sounded really diverse. Each song really has a very different feel, a different intention. Some of them are really groovy and danceable and take you on this soundscape journey, and some are meditational, so we really wanted to feature the diversity of all the beautiful instruments that we play.
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What's it like collaborating with your husband?
I feel very blessed to be able to play music with my husband. It's a gift that I don't take for granted. We bring out in each other very different things, and we bring to the table very different things. His sense of musicality is very refined and sophisticated, and he brings a lot of production knowledge to the recording of the pieces. I come from a dance background, so I just want to get into a groove and find a way that my body can move to it, and my background is a little bit of the West African, Afro-Cuban and salsa dancing, so I bring this other flair to the music, and we really complement each other.
Tell us about what you have planned for the album-release show — and the dueling hang drums.
Hang drums are extremely rare. They are probably the most beautiful drums I have ever heard. They stopped production on them a couple of years ago in Switzerland, so they are very hard to get. We are blessed to have one. It's rare to hear a hang drum in person; it's even rarer to hear it over a large sound system, and it's exponentially rarer to hear two of them at the same time. We have a friend with a drum, and we have Issa Malluf coming up from New Mexico, and Gilly and I will be playing one simultaneously, and Issa will be playing the other, so there will be three people playing hang drum over a professional sound system, and that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.