Musical Performance: Glen Velez: Sacred Frame Drums

Fri, September 26, 2008 9:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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The Third Annual Alwan Festival of Sacred Music

$15 ($10 Students with valid ID)

House opens 9:00 PM

The Glen Velez frame Drum Ensemble

Sacred Frame Drums: Exploring the shamanistic trance qualities of drumming.


Glen Velez

Yousif Sheronick

Shane Shanahan

Mark Katsouni

with special guest Rhythm Vocalist, Lori Cotler

For more info on these musicians:

The Music

A concert of drumming with rhythm vocals and overtone singing, drawing on the ensembles extensive knowledge of drum traditions from the Arab, Central Asian and South Indian worlds, create a continuous pulsing sound journey. The centerpiece of the concert will be a performance of "Doctrine of Signatures." This drumming piece was created and recorded by Glen Velez in the late 1980's and has not been performed since 1996. Grammy Award winning Master Drummer Glen Velez, with his hands of fire, creates a sonically infused sanctuary of shaman inspired rhythms and melodies. He leads his ensemble of virtuoso drummers, Yousif Sheronick, Shane Shanahan, Mark Katsouni and rhythm vocal wizard, Lori Cotler, in homage to the breathtaking traditions of shamanic drumming and chanting. Glen's original compositions integrate the pulsing rhythmic traditions of the Arab and Mediterranean worlds, along with the fiery syncopation of South India. These influences, plus inspiration from the multi-timbered sound of his primary drum, the Frame Drum, generate a stunning array of melodic and rhythmic tapestries. The frame drum is used not only in many classical and folk music cultures, but also is the drum of choice wherever shamanistic practices are found. This link between music, spirituality and healing, is an audible thread that runs through his music and performances. In the ancient Mediterranean world, frame drumming was an omnipresent tool of ritual. Frame drummers are seen in Greek vase paintings, Egyptian wall paintings, Mesopotamian figurines and relief, and Roman sarcophagi. Glen has drawn upon the abundant pictorial representations of those drumming ancestors (some as old as 5000 years), to create a bond between their ritualistic sound making and his modern drumming creations.

Glen Velez

Four-time Grammy Award winning master drummer, composer and educator

Glen Velez is considered one of the most influential percussionists of our time, as well as being responsible for a world-wide resurgence in the popularity of the frame drum.His teaching and performances inspired the Remo Drum Co. in 1983 to develop a line of frame drums called the Glen Velez Signature Series. The Cooperman Drum Co. introduced a hand made Signature Series Glen Velez Tambourine and Frame Drum line in 1999.

Even twentieth century composer, John Cage acknowledged Velez' mastery when he wrote a piece especially for him in 1989, entitled "Composed Improvisation for One-sided Drum with or without Jingles."

While Glen draws upon the great drumming traditions of the Middle East, South India and the Mediterranean world (ancient and modern), he plays in a style all his own. Utilizing a vast culmination of complex hand and finger techniques, he creates a symphony of sound and texture from just a single hand held drum. Glen is also an expert in Central Asian Overtone Singing (singing two tones at once). During concerts, he gives his audiences a spontaneous crash course in this style.

In the ancient Mediterranean world, frame drumming was an omnipresent tool of ritual. The use of the frame drum, shaker and voice are instruments most commonly used wherever shamanic healing practices are found. These healing and celebratory themes are audible threads that weave all through Glens recordings and live performances.

Glen has gained international recognition as a solo artist and is also known for his 15 year recording and performing collaborations with composer Steve Reich as well as the Paul Winter Consort. Other collaborations include: Tan Dun, Israel Philharmonia, Brooklyn Philharmonia, Opera Orchestra of New York, Suzanne Vega, Pat Metheny, Zakir Hussain, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. His own compositions have been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and John Schaefer's New Sounds and have been commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Reader's Digest. He has written music for theater and dance and recorded hundreds of albums on ECM, CBS, RCA, GRP, Warner Brothers, Deutsche Gramophone, Geffen, Nonesuch, Capital, and Sony.

In addition, he has several instructional videos, 5 instructional books and over a dozen recordings of his own music on CMP, Music of the World, Sounds True, Interworld, Ellipsis Arts and DafTof Records. Glen is a master teacher who conducts workshops worldwide and has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Velez developed his own teaching approach called “The Handance Method.” It incorporates voice and body movement into the process of learning to play the frame drum and has been presented in hundreds of universities worldwide. He currently teaches frame drums at the Mannes School of Music, as well as series of master classes at The Julliard School, Tanglewood and Manhattan School of Music.

Glen Velez regularly performs with Cellist David Darling and Coleman Barks, world renown scholar/translator of the poetry of Rumi. He is also active with his own Glen Velez Ensemble, as well as with Trio Globo featuring Howard Levy and Eugene Friesen. He regularly performs with critically acclaimed vocalist/rhythm singer Lori Cotler. Glens new recording entitled 'Rhythms of the Chakras Vol. 2' featuring Lori Cotler, will be released on the Sounds True label in 2008.

"A galaxy of timbres and inflections ... remarkable rhythmic fireworks." - New York Times

" The audience was rapt, absolutely still, except for those dancing in place." - The Village Voice

" Extreme virtuosity and imagination ... astonishing sophistication" - New York Times

This event is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Last updated: 2008-08-28 22:34:23

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