We had the good fortune of connecting with Nava Dunkelman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nava, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My mother is a musician and music has been a part of my life since the very beginning. I was already performing with my mother at 5 years old. I started taking drum lessons seriously when I was 12, and I just kept finding more joy in playing music. I was simply falling in love with each moment I made sound, and this became more and more colorful as I grew as a musician. I just wanted to keep growing. Becoming a musician and artist was the most natural thing for me to do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a percussionist and improviser. I have a few projects called IMA, an electro-percussion duo with Amma Ateria, DunkelpeK, an improvisational duo with Jakob Pek, and Nomon, a percussion duo with my sister Shayna Dunkelman. I create a one-of-a-kind setup with my various percussion instruments consisting of sounds I love, and I think that makes me unique. I am proud of the sound world I create. It was definitely not easy to really find myself. What is “me” and what am “I” supposed to sound like? But I found that all I needed to do was just to listen to myself, be true to myself, and to trust myself. That is still sometimes challenging for me, but I am always trying to remember to cherish and honor what I do and what I create. I think that is the most important lesson that I have learned through my life being a musician and artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am from Japan, so if I imagine that my friends from Japan came to visit me, I’d take them to the Berkeley Marina, which is located in North Berkeley, CA. It is a vast and beautiful place that you can’t really experience in Japan. Visiting and seeing the wide open nature, hearing the birds and the sound of the water is so peaceful and soothing. Also, if my friends were feeling like shopping, I would take them on a stroll down Fourth Street in Berkeley. There many shops and restaurants there. It is simply a fun and easy place to hang out. If they are up for traveling, I would take them to Carmel, CA, which is about a 3 hour drive south from Berkeley. It’s a very cute, little town. The beach there is breathtakingly beautiful! There are so many art galleries and fun shops to check out too.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe so much to my mentor and teacher William Winant. One of the most inspiring musicians I have ever met. He has taught me so much both about playing music and living the life of a musician. Willie, if you are reading this, thank you so much and love you!
Other: IMA: Website: imanoise.me Instagram: @ima.noise DunkelpeK: Instagram: @dunkelpek
Damien Maloney Jeff Spirer Sumeet Banerji