When Frank Rosaly was a child, he and his sister would play a game where they would create sounds by
poking plastic utensils into plastic foam or spilling viscous liquids onto hard surfaces.
What resulted sounded like a milk shake being poured, so they called these "Molk."
Rosaly, now a Chicago-based percussionist, continues to seek out interesting sounds, and in tribute to
that early game calls these solo performances Milkwork.
Rosaly will perform a Milkwork show Sunday at 8 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling
Green. Also on the bill will be the duo of Rob Wallace on percussion and Christine Wehr on woodwinds.
In an email, Rosaly said that he started playing snare drum when he was 8 and growing up in Arizona. A
year later he heard Latin music legend Tito Puente. "It was magical! He had me in a trance. I
remember being drenched in tears of excitement. … Anyone who could hold that much power over my
emotions and bodily functions is obviously some kind of Shaman.
"That did it for me – I wanted to make people feel like this for a living!"
Rosaly went on to continue his studies through high school and college. He graduated with a performance
degree from Northern Arizona University and studied with a line of notable musicians including Billy
Higgins and Bob Moses.
Still he wants to "honor the fascination that children have with their surroundings."
"It’s something that a lot of musicians lose as they gain expertise on their instruments."
Technical mastery can deter a musician from exploring the wider world of sound. "There is a kind of
bravery I attempt to achieve in the solo thing that isn’t about displaying my abilities as much as
making difficult choices against the proficient musician within."
As someone who is trained in composition, he hears "very blatant and obvious" structures in his
head. He fights against that. "I am looking for the uncomfortable whenever I can."
That approach has developed since he moved to Chicago in 2001 and started to explore the improvised and
new music scene.
He worked in a record store with fellow enthusiasts and musicians and they guided his listening.
He went to as many shows as he could even if it meant skimping on groceries and not paying the utility
"It was worth it, though I wasn’t very healthy those first few years," he said.
He started performing with other musicians, and since has performed with many of the top figures on the
Chicago scene as well as musicians in New York and Europe.
That Chicago experience made, he contends, the musician he is today, a musician who continues to explore
and delve into a sometimes unsettling soundscape.