Jas's -- Drum Page

...I just couldn't resist the cheezy animated gif...

I am the lead drummer for a Middle Eastern dance and music troup called Khafif (based in Pittsburgh, PA). I currently have more drums than I can play at one time (although I have been building them instead of buying them in an attempt to slow my fervor...a good suggestion if you have become a drum addict), and the bruising from my housemates when I practice in the house has lessened a bit, since drumming is not nearly as obnoxious as that pesky mizmar... :-)

I also drum with an incredible vocal group that performs Balkan music: alternatively known as "Svezda" or "The Balkan Babes".

Here are some resources that I have authored on hand drumming. They have a particularly Middle Eastern and Meditaranean bias (as that is the style of drumming that I do):

Middle Eastern Percussion Resources

  • -- Annotated traditional dumbek/dance rhythms. This is a list of rhythms with comments about how they are traditionally used and notes on playing style.
  • -- Middle Eastern Percussion Class Handout. A handout for an intro Middle Eastern percussion class.
  • Jas's MIDI Rhythm Generator -- a generator of standard MIDI for hand drum rhythms that I'm working on.
  • Jas's rhythm tools for the Palm Pilot
  • Quick notes on playing the Riq (Middle Eastern Tamborine) from MED-Dance

  • Places to get drums:

  • Traditional Rhythms -- a friend of mine who is an importer (tell him I sent you!) -- good stuff and reasonable prices -- check out the frame drums -- a good assortment of African stuff as well as dumbeks.
  • Touch the Earth -- friends from Stuart Virginia. They do a lot of importing of Turkish and Egyptian instruments as well as other goods from all over the world. They have, at various times, pretty much every kind of ethnic hand drum you would want. Their website is kind of skimpy at the moment, but if you call them and tell them what you want I'm sure they will help you.
  • MidEast Manufacturing -- "The Ethnic Musical Instruments Co." -- probably the best place to get the common sort of ceramic dumbek; high quality and reasonable prices. (Also they re-head drums -- including mounting non-skin heads (e.g. fiberskyn) on ceramic, which is not something to do at home unless you really know what you're doing.)
  • Lark in the Morning -- a supplier for a dizzying array of domestic and ethnic instruments. You can get just about anything, but you can usually do better in terms of price/quality if you shop around.

  • Here are some more resources on the web relevant to dance and drumming --->

    Some of these links may be bad -- I haven't had a chance to check them recently...
  • Mary Mark's : Learning Middle Eastern Percussion -- an extensive list of suppliers and sources for learning materials about Middle Eastern percusson
  • UCLA School of Ethnomusicology, Near East Music Ensemble Page -- Most Excellent Site! Has samples and Quicktime movies of various instruments (including Dumbec, Riq, Frame Drum) traditionally played.
  • Ancient Future: World Music Online. All sorts of info/links/stuff on traditional world music and dance -- MP3 files, and MIDI files of world drum grooves.
  • Sartakh's Veil and Drum site -- cool, added some rhythm samples.
  • Durr's "Al-Musta'rib newsletter
  • Armando "Uncle Mafufo" -- of Sirocco; Instructional resources for ME percussion.
  • "Belly" Dance Home Page
  • Jim Z's cool drum making project -- I wish I had the time...
  • Shira's ME Dance Site -- lots of good stuff.
  • Kimberly's Middle Eastern Dance Resources
  • WWW Drum and Percussion Page
  • Nott's Home page -- follow the drum links for some other rhythms.
  • What is one of them thar "Dumbeks" anyway?
  • Kesslari's Doumbek Rhythms -- Also check out his instructional video -- probably the best one I've seen for the beginning ME drummer...
  • Karadenis's Notes for a class on drumming for accompanying Middle Eastern music.
  • Rhythm Web's Drum Circle
  • Middle Eastern Percussionist Anne Harkin -- Australia
  • Mundobeat Drum Metronome -- a programmable metronome for rhythm instruction
  • More Links from our troupe links page

  • Coming someday...

    Doumbek re-heading instructions (several people have asked and I can't find any other web resource...email me if you know of one)

    Instructions on how to interpret drum rhythms for the zills (people have asked about this too).

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