newfound freedom in the Kingdom of Thud

I play drums in Felahi, a Middle Eastern dance music group.  Middle eastern music is largely drum-driven, so everyone in the band is a drummer, although a couple of us occasionally play melodic instruments as well.  The sound of the music is defined in part by contrasting timbres among various drums.  I mostly play “bass” drums… either a large Turkish-style doumbek, or a large frame drum played with bare hands in the Glen Velez style.  The strong doum sounds and soft, muted teks on those drums put me in the timekeeper role, playing simple parts that are then decorated by sharper-sounding, higher pitched instruments.

Charlie, the bandleader, just got a “dhola”, which is basically an oversized Egyptian-style doumbek.  Although it has the sharp sound and bright teks of a regular Egyptian doumbek, it is louder and has a much more powerful doum.  This drum has liberated me!  Rather than being stuck playing all the doum sounds that define the rhythm, I can play higher, faster “lead” parts on my Turkish doumbek, while Charlie plays the bassline on the dhola.  And we can alternate, so he plays lead while I hold down the rhythm.  The soft, round tone of the Turkish drum contrasts nicely with the sharp sound of the dhola.  The combination gives us much more flexibility to improvise and decorate the rhythms.

And my inner electric guitarist is happy to play “lead” some more, too.


1 Response to “newfound freedom in the Kingdom of Thud”

  1. 30 August 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Cool!!! I took a workshop with Glen Velez and Lori Cotler here in São Paulo, Brazil. If you are interested in polyrhythms, check out this blog (it’s portuguese but look for the “podcasts”, just click PLAY).

    For example:

    7 against 5 cycle

    Best wishes,


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