Mark Carr-Rollitt [photo: Buzz}

Mark Carr-Rollitt

A world of music

Profile | by Julie Bull

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A man of many talents, Mark Carr-Rollitt is taking the seasonal shift from summer to fall as an opportunity to finish writing his thesis for a Master’s in Island Studies from UPEI. During the summer, Mark was busy planning festivals and events, and performing as a percussionist.

“I’m the percussionist in The Count and the Cuban Cocktail. We were nominated for an ECMA a few years ago.”

Mark grew up in a multicultural home with Argentinian and Italian parents. He recalls listening to many kinds of music while he was growing up.

“I remember being a kid and turning the dial on the little radio in bed and hearing things like Led Zeppelin and my mom loved opera.”

This interest in music encouraged him to become a self-taught guitar player. Along with his self-taught musical skills, Mark has also studied classical and flamenco guitar, Balkan rhythms on the darbuka drum, and has taken many African drumming workshops. With this musical training, he also has an academic background in Anthropology.

Now, he is bringing those various parts of himself together for his graduate studies as he explores music and multiculturalism.

“Rhythm is a language and Islands are discrete bodies. There are some common threads of colonial influence that have occurred on Islands here and in other parts of the world.”

Mark is doing this academic work now and it comes after many decades of his own musical and life experiences. In high school he played the bass in a strings class and even dabbled a bit in a rock band.

“I was in a few crappy bands in high school,” he laughed, “but I rarely played publicly as an adult until I moved to PEI.”

As we were chatting, we realized that we both worked at UPEI at the same time in the early 2000s, but we didn’t know each other then, nor do we remember crossing paths during that time. Who knew it was possible to be in such proximity and not know each other here on PEI?

Even before his time at UPEI, Mark had been making magic happen behind the scenes in events for many years. He became interested in event planning when he was working at a textile museum in Toronto.

“I think things find us, not the other way around. We just need to be open to receive it.”

After several years of working in conferences and meetings with the University, Mark branched out and worked with other consultants before eventually starting his own consulting business.

“I’ve been a freelance professional for several years now and my focus includes working in equity, diversity, and inclusion for companies and organizations, as well as planning festivals and events.”

Notably, Mark works with Immigrant and Refugee Services Association (IRSA) on PEI to deliver the robust programming for DiverseCity, an Island-wide event celebrating multi-culturalism, diversity, and inclusion.

“Multiculturalism is important to me, and this festival is a way for diverse communities on PEI to celebrate and share their cultures.”

Sport is also an important part of Mark’s life, and he can be found throughout the year playing soccer on a variety of teams and leagues.

“We are seeing this beautiful thing where more and more newcomers are joining sports teams which is really helping us connect with one another around these mutual interests.”

In his life and in his work, Mark endeavors to “build and amplify voice.”

“When you’re from a lot of places, you’re from everywhere and you’re from nowhere. There’s this feeling of being the outsider. Music helps us feel like we belong.”

Julie Bullprofile