Tag Archives: frame drums

Artist Profiles: Abbos Kosimov

Abbos Kosimov

Abbos Kosimov is a master doyra player and innovator in the history of frame drumming. Both a traditional master and a contemporary trandsetter, Kosimov has expanded the range and repertory of Uzbekistan’s primary percussion instrument, to the point where all younger players replicate his techniques.

Kosimov grew up in a family of musicians in Uzbekistan. His father played santoor (hammer dulcimer) and his brother the ney (flute). Kosimov started taking doyra lessons at age 10 with Tochi Nogamo, the leading teacher of the tradition.

Up to the age of 20, Kosimov focused on classic rhythms and solos. He mastered the fundamentals quickly, and then branched out on his own, leading him in unanticipated directions. “Back home in Uzbekistan,” Kosimov said, “I practiced a lot, 6 or 7 hours a day. I listened to jazz music, drum set players, conga players, jembe players, tabla, and I mixed it all together and put it on doyra.”

Today, Kosimov lives in Sacramento, California, and plays with the group Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan (SARA). Uzbekistan and Afghanistan share history and culture, and this groundbreaking group gives him an opportunity to show his virtuosity and particular style.

Kosimov’s fellow percussionist in SARA, tabla virtuoso Salar Nader, calls him “the magician of the doyra.”

No prior player has come close to Kosimov’s modernizations. Inspired by North Indian tabla players, Kosimov worked on his finger tapping technique, perfecting soft and hard strokes, and developing personalized rolls and slaps. He mastered rhythms in different time signatures, 7/8, 11/8 and others.

Abbos Kosimov

In 2008, Kosimov was a guest musician on one of Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion tours in the United States. This is where Salar Nader first heard him, and was amazed to hear such proficiency in so many styles of music from the humble doyra.

Nader was then in the process of forming an ensemble to play Afghan music, and Kosimov seemed an ideal addition. Uzbek and Afghan music are very close. Moreover, Uzbek-Afghans account for over 20% of the country’s population. Kosimov’s talent with North Indian classical music—another important ingredient in Afghan music—was also a great benefit.

Since moving to the United States in 2005, Kosimov has performed with a wide range of renowned musicians.


A Time 2 Love, with Stevie Wonder (Motown, 2005)
Hand’Stan, with Tantana ‎(2006)
Rainbow, with Kronos Quartet, Alim & Fargana Qasimov, and Homayoun Sakhi ‎(Smithsonian Folkways, 2010)
Infinite Rhythm (Audio Telepathy Records, 2012)
A Thousand Thoughts, with Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch, 2014)
Euphonic (Sunanda Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Glen Velez

Glen Velez

Glen Velez is a master drummer, composer and educator. He won three Grammy awards and 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.

He was born in Texas, of Mexican American ancestry. He moved to New York City in the late 196s. Although he began as a jazz drummer, he felt a strong attraction towards hand drums, especially frame drums.

Glen has also 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.

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.

In 1989, twentieth century composer, John Cage acknowledged Velez’ mastery when he wrote a piece especially for him, entitled “Composed Improvisation for One-sided Drum with or without Jingles.”

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.

Glen Velez

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.

Glen 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 and Manhattan School of Music.

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, a symphony of sounds and textures remarkably stream forth from just a single hand held drum. Glen’s solos seem supernatural, a technical rarity that is beyond comprehension. However, beyond all the jaw-dropping spectacle of Glen’s super-human techniques, is a music that is so deeply emotional, a raw beauty, that perhaps, within it’s core, resides the most universal rhythm of all – the heart beat.

Glen is also an expert in Central Asian Overtone Singing (split-tone/harmonic singing). During concerts, he often gives his audiences a spontaneous crash course in this style, thus resulting into a spirited interactive overtone choir.

Glen Velez regularly performs and records with Trio Globo – featuring Eugene Friesen and Howard Levy; Coleman Barkes, world renown scholar/translator of the poetry of Rumi; Glen Velez Ensemble; Duo performances with vocalist/rhythm singer Lori Cotler – songs from their new recording are available on iTunes.


Handdance (Music of the World, 1983)

Musica Esporadica (Nocd Records, 1985)

Internal Combustion (Schematic, 1985)

Seven Heaven (CMP, 1987)

Assyrian Rose (CMP, 1989)

Doctrine of Signatures (CMP, 1991)

Ramana (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1991)

Mokave 2 (Audioquest, 1993)

Border States (1993)

Pan Eros (CMP, 1993)

Trio Globo, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1994)

Carnival of Souls, with Trio Globo (Silver Wave, 1995)

Rhythmcolor Exotica (Ellipsis Arts, 1996)

Rhythms of the Chakras (Sounds True, 1998)

Ettna (Nomad Records/Music of the World, 1999)

Breathing Rhythms (Sounds True, 2000)

Rhythms of Awakening (Sounds True, 2005)

Rhythms of the Chakras 2 (Sounds True, 2008)

Steering by the Stars, with Trio Globo (Stonecutter Records, 2010)