Monday, 20 June 2016

GUITAR HEROES: Ace musicians Maurice Gordon and Seretse Small remember their instrumental, influential fathers

THE SCIENTIST: Unsurprisingly, music played a key role in cementing the bond that Seretse Small shared with his arts-loving parents, but more so his father Kenneth. “My mother [Jean] first played the guitar for me, but he was the one who influenced how I learnt to play the guitar. He used to play it for me to go to bed,” Small recalls, obviously tickled by the memory. As it turns out, Sir Kenneth was also heavily into the sciences and distinguished himself in the field from early. “He was a mathematician and a physicist, and everything that I have done has more or less been out of the basic principles that he gave me, in terms of the way I think,” says the renowned instrumentalist and educator. “He was a man who used his mind to change the world. When he was very young, he wrote a physics paper that literally changed the physics textbooks, and so I figured that you can use your mind to change the world.” So how closely does the Seretse Small today resemble the patriarch he grew up idolizing? “I think I’ve become the man that I always hoped,” he responds, “but I do aspire to aspects of his genius.”

THE DISCIPLINARIAN: Some kids have all the luck. Growing up, Maurice Gordon had not one but two influential patriarchal figures to look up to: his dad and his stepdad. When it comes to the firm disciplinarian streak that he’s inherited, he says he definitely picked that up from his biological old man. “He was a very disciplined and responsible man, and other than that he would just be there whenever a need came up,” Gordon tells TALLAWAH. “I spent a lot of time with my stepfather, but my father was the one who liked to play the guitar, and that’s where I got it from. That’s where it started for me.” By his own admission, becoming the man he’d always envisioned, drawing on his father’s finest qualities, is still a work-in-progress. “I still have some work to do with regards to that,” says Gordon, “because it’s an evolving process.”

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