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An interview with illustrator Catell Ronca

Catell Ronca with The Drum
Catell Ronca

Buy The Drum

Catell Ronca is the illustrator of The Drum, which is the first book in our new Children.Music.Life. series. She lives and works in Switzerland and we interviewed her about The Drum and music in general. Read it below:

What three words would you use to describe The Drum?
Life, joy, self-expression.

Did you play any musical instruments growing up?
Yes, the piano, the guitar, the recorder, but nothing very well.

What inspired you when illustrating The Drum?
I was inspired first of all by all the African cultures and the colours and sounds that I associate with them, and how happy they make me feel.

The illustrations for The Drum are so vibrant and happy. Why did you choose this style?
The beat of a drum is an irresistible force for me, very much in the way colours are. Drumbeats are essentially the life-force, our hearts instantly resonate, so I wanted the colours to communicate life and make the visuals as striking as possible.

An illustration from The Drum


You illustrated a drum with animals coming out of it like music, with the words ‘The drum is life’. What does that picture mean to you?
One beat on a drum and so much is triggered… For me this image is about consciousness, waking up, seeing creation in the making. It reminds me of our beautiful planet with all the species and the unbelievable diversity.

What do you think music gives to children?
Children naturally want to express with their bodies how music and sounds make them feel. It is simply a natural and fun thing to move and take part especially in a group. I love watching young children dance, as it makes me so happy. Moving spontaneously to sounds is actually very good for the soul and should be done regularly… no matter if it looks silly or not… I have actually become less inhibited myself and just move when I hear a good beat!

How can parents use a book like The Drum to encourage their children to make music?
The book is great, because it offers different ways the beat of the drum can be experienced. We can concentrate on just moving our hips or our shoulders or we can focus on how the beat makes us feel thus, noticing how our hearts respond (and our emotions). We can also all move individually, exploring our own personal dance-style to the beat. So, it is about the group and the individual. Working with a drum and a beat carries so many possibilities for expression and what the body instinctively knows and wants to ‘say’, so this book really invites us to explore our physical response to it.

What music do you most remember from your childhood?
When I was four, I was given a cassette of Cat Stevens’ music, which was the first piece of music I owned. I listened to this cassette over and over again; I just could not hear enough of it. I also remember being deeply affected by melodies. When a melody was sad I always had to cry, or when it was happy I just had to dance and sing along.

The Drum is available to buy now

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Posted in Authors, Blog