Oxóssi in Ferguson


Originally recorded by David Bergeaud on 2014-03-05 in Topanga, CA as a live improvisation with Derek on oud and David on tongue drum. The raw track was 7:45 long. Derek edited that down to 6:38, arranged all the Pernambucano percussion parts (mostly maracatú and afoxé), and overdubbed those on 2014-11-19 at the Alchemy Castle in Hollywood, CA.

On 2014-08-09, after the original duet was recorded and while Derek was deciding what to do with the track, Mike Brown was murdered by the police in Ferguson, MO, sparking a rebellion of people demanding justice that grew into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. This eruption of protest against police brutality (and the national debate it generated) was incredibly inspiring, and at the same time, tragic. So many Black lives being murdered by the state, so few of the murderers ever being held accountable. But after years of small, isolated protests against these murders, things were finally starting to coalesce into a national movement. Derek felt that this mood of both defiance and tragedy resonated with the melodies of the song, and he decided to write the percussion arrangement to further reflect the determination of the people of Ferguson in their search for justice.

Oxóssi is the Yoruba spirit of the hunter, the forest, and abundance. Derek wanted to invoke the idea of Oxóssi visiting Ferguson to support the peoples' hunt for justice. The track is dedicated to Mike Brown and all of the countless people who have lost their lives to the racist and oppressive political and social structures in the United States and around the world.

Some alternate ideas for the title, in no particular order:

  • Procession for the Wrongfully Dead / Processão dos Mortos Injustamente / Procesión de los Muertos Injustamente
  • We Are Here
  • Right to Breath
Derek Wright: oud, agbê, alfaia, caixa, gonguê / David Bergeaud: tongue drum
All rights reserved
Release date:  
August 2, 2016



Derek Wright is a long-time student, performer and teacher of music and dance. He has deeply studied Brazilian percussion, Middle Eastern stringed instruments, North Indian classical music, voice, body music, dance accompaniment, and improvisation.


Derek Wright has been a musician all of his life. He started his training thanks to a vibrant music program in the public elementary school he attended in Amherst, MA. Growing up in New Orleans, he was a jazz bassist at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a saxophonist, and percussionist. In 1993 he moved to Madison, WI to pursue majors in computer science and physics, and to continue his studies of jazz and bass with Richard Davis.


Derek plays a number of stringed and percussion instruments from around the world, especially the oud, saz, Brazilian drums, body music and voice. He has also collaborated with other artists to widen the palette of sounds available. The following sections introduce and explain all of the instruments heard within Derek's music.

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Derek has always tried to share his knowledge and understanding with others. As with love, friendship, goodwill, and many other beautiful things, the more you share, the more you have. His extensive studies have not only given him a depth of material, technique, grooves and musical approaches from numerous traditions, he has also experienced and learned from a wide variety of teaching styles in difference contexts. Benefitting from the mistakes and successes of numerous teachers around the world has enabled Derek to teach for a vast range of levels and experiences in numerous settings, explain things from many different perspectives, help students see the connections between things, and always work towards enhancing their overall musicianship and presence, regardless of the specific technique employed in each moment.

Workshops, master classes, and private lessons are available in many options, including: North Indian classical music; Maracatú; Other rhythms from Pernambuco (Coco, Ciranda); Carioca (Rio-style) Samba; Samba Afro/Reggae; Introduction to Candomblé rhythms; Body music; Non-Western (Sargam) notation (for rhythm, drum arrangements, melodies, dance, etc); Instrument technique and ergonomics (especially stringed and percussion instruments); Breema Bodywork and Self-Breema.

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DerekWrightMusic.com is proudly built with the Pushtape distribution of Drupal, an open source content management system/framework used by many sites on the Internet with contributors from all over the world. When not making music, practicing Breema, and/or teaching, Derek is a computer scientist, programmer, and project manager. He is known as dww, a prolific contributor to Drupal with many roles over the years, and previously was a senior developer for the HTCondor High-Throughput Computing system at UW-Madison.