Rick de Yampert
Writings / Music
Music / Sitarick
Music / Hejira
Writings / Pop Culture
Writings / On Music
Writings / Into the Mystic
Writings / Poems


Like thousands of other kids in 1964, Rick de Yampert became spellbound when four lads named John, Paul, George and Ringo invaded America.


From Beatlemania to "Revolver" to "Abbey Road," the Beatles seemed like magicians who had mastered deep sonic mysteries, beyond the reach of mere mortals. And so Rick didn't dare dream of making music until his senior year in high school in 1976, when he bought his first guitar -- so that he could learn Beatle songs.


Almost 30 years later, his growing fascination with world music spurred him to seek out an instrument more “exotic” than guitar. Soon after taking up Native American flute, he chanced upon a music instrument importer in Melbourne, Florida, that specialized in instruments from India and the Middle East.


Rick suddenly was visited by a new yet familiar muse: Hmmmm, George Harrison played sitar . . . on “Norwegian Wood,” on "Love You To," on "Within You Without You.”


Inspired by the “quiet” Beatle rather than Indian master musician Ravi Shankar (who soon would become a new music hero), Rick took up sitar, the better to woo his new muse . . . a muse who dances to sacred sounds . . . a muse who seeks music that opens doors to the spirit and the soul.


Today Rick plays sitar, Native American flutes, djembe (African hand drum), congas and electric and acoustic guitars. As Sitarick, he frequently performs on sitar and Native American flutes at yoga sessions, art festivals, cafes and Pagan gatherings in Central Florida and the Daytona Beach area.


Rick also is half of the world fusion music duo Hejira, which also includes Karl Miranda on djembe, Native American flutes, congas, guitar and didgeridoo. (Hejira is an Arabic word for “flight” or “journey,” specifically one to a more peaceful or spiritual place.)


Hejira has performed at the Bandshell and other Daytona Beach venues, and the duo frequently performs at nia dance sessions in the area.

Rick also presents a series of lecture/demonstrations on the history of sacred music, which he has given to Pagan festivals, Unitarian-Universalist churches and other groups. Titled “Sacred Music: From the Big Bang to ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ” the series of programs explores how and why cultures around the planet have used music to open doors to the sacred, from shaman drummers to Pakistani Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, from Native American chant to the rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven.”

The lectures feature de Yampert performing on sitar, guitar, Native American flute, didgeridoo, Tibetan singing bowl and djembe (African hand drum). The lectures also include recordings of Kenyan witchcraft ritual music, the Hindu Om chant, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Native American pow-wow music and other sacred sounds.

Rick previously was the arts and entertainment writer for 23 years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the daily newspaper in Daytona Beach, Florida. Along with interviewing rock artists, pop stars, writers and poets (including Kurt Vonnegut, Janet Jackson and many others), he also profiled folk musicians from Ireland, Africa and Native American nations. Rick left the paper in October 2015 to pursue freelance music and writing full time.

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