Herwig Schöbitz – Rhythm is all around us!
Name: Herwig Schöbitz
Lives in: Vienna
Group company: NOVOMATIC AG
Position: Head of Technical Support
With NOVOMATIC since: August 1988
As Head of the Technical Support department, Herwig Schöbitz leads the TechSupp and 2nd Level Support teams at the NOVOMATIC HQ and coordinates, among other things, smooth internal and external processes, interdepartmental cooperation and customer visits, ensuring that customers and partners worldwide can rely on immediate technical support and troubleshooting.
In his private life, music and rhythm have always been an essential part of his journey. Already at the age of 10, he wanted to become a drummer and completed two semesters in a class for Orff instruments at the Vienna Music Conservatory. It was not until 2000, however, after his wife came across a folder of the ‘Beatfactory’, that things really got serious. “I booked a beginners’ course and from the very first moment, I was fascinated by the almost inexhaustible variety of West African drum rhythms, from very simple to highly complex polyrhythms,” he says.
He submerged into theory and practice with an indepth study of the djembe and the very old tradition of this music in West African culture, where to this day, it is a vital part of social life and structures. Herwig joined the ‘nabum - beatfactory stageproject’, where master class students and teachers jointly develop, rehearse and perform complex arrangements based on traditional West African drum rhythms. He says: “In my spare time, I support my teachers at the ‘Beatfactory’ in beginners’ lessons and during workshops in the context of corporate team building events.”
Due to his intensive occupation with West African culture, it was just a matter of time until he sought to experience this music in its traditional context, where it is an integral part of all kinds of festivities such as weddings, christenings and healing ceremonies. Through the close contacts of the drum school with renowned West African drum masters in Mali and Guinea, Herwig not only received concentrated instruction from the masters during a series of journeys, but was also able to accompany them to their engagements and experience the dynamics of this intensively lived culture as a listener as well as an accompanying musician. During these trips, however, he also experienced the poverty and needs of the people he visited: “We therefore always brought guest gifts for the villages of our drum masters. These were mainly things that are already second choice in our affluent society – used smartphones, used but good shoes and clothing.” But they also collected cash funds before their trips to locally buy large quantities of sanitary products for hospitals and school utensils for the respective institutions.