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Nickel trader drums up new business


From banking to bongos. Until 2001, Jay MacDonald was a nickel trader, most recently for Standard Bank in London. But 18 months ago he ditched his day job and six-figure salary to become a professional bongo drum player.

As a boy he played drums on and off while also roadying for his dad at weekends. But he didn’t touch them again until 1994 when he started playing bongos at parties.

It took a bit of convincing to get promoters to pay. “I’d call them and say if you like what you hear, you can pay me, if you don’t I just won’t come back again.” But persistence paid off and since then he’s worked with big-name DJs, on live music projects and dragged his six-piece set of bongos and congas to club nights for promoters such as Ministry of Sound as far afield as Turkey and the Philippines. Strangely, he’s got no pressing urge to get back into nickel trading. For more, go to

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