Dinner on the Diner

Dateline: June 23, 2000

Dinner on the Diner is a four-part series on PBS. Taking place in the dining cars of restored, historic trains, master chefs prepare delicacies featuring cuisine from around the world.
But that's not all: for each part of the world that the respective chefs represent, there is accompanying music thanks to New Hampshire-based composer and musician Randy Armstrong. Armstrong researched the music of Scotland, Spain, South Africa and Southeast Asia to create a musical soundtrack that is as original as it is authentic.
The music of Dinner on the Diner is available on a two-CD boxed set (Ellipsis Arts) with an extensive booklet featuring information about the music as well as some of the delicious recipes prepared on the show.

Paula: What was your inspiration for the music?

Randy: The shear visual beauty of the countries was very inspirational. Also, the history, culture and people of each land gave great depth and inspiration for this project. Jonathan Guilbert's filming is stunning!

Paula: You play a lot of different instruments -- do you have a favorite instrument or favorite kind of instrument? If so, what is it and why?

Randy: That is a hard one to answer. I have a collection of over 200 hundred instruments. Some that come to mind are: sitar, Lakota flute, guitar & djembe.

Paula: What is your own musical background? Who and/or what are your musical influences?

Randy: I have been exploring World Fusion music since the early 70's. Of course the early cross-cultural influences of artists like John Coltrane, Yehudi Menduin & Ravi Shankar, the Beatles, Collin Wolcott & Oregon and many, many others played a significant roll in my own exploration.

I hold an independent study degree in World Music Composition from Columbia Pacific University and have studied North Indian, West African and European music extensively. Although I'm not a "straight ahead" jazz player, jazz and improvisational music are a major influence in my own musical experience.

I greatly admire: Babatunde Olatunji, Pat Metheny, Salif Keita, Steve Reich, Ravi Shankar, ECM Records, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon and hundreds of pioneering artists and record labels from around the world making our planet a more connected place to live!


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