Glen Velez

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Glen Velez, Luca Recupero and Alfio Antico playing at the Marranzano World Festival of Catania (Sicily) in 2007

Glen Velez is an American percussionist, vocalist, and composer, specializing in frame drums from around the world. He is largely responsible for the increasing popularity of frame drums in the United States and around the world.

Velez is married to Loire (Lori Cotler).

Biography[edit]

Of Mexican American ancestry, Velez grew up in Texas but relocated to New York City in 1967 or 1968.[1] He began by playing jazz on the drum set but soon gravitated to hand drums from around the world (frame drums in particular), seeking out teachers from many different musical traditions. Among the many instruments Velez favors in his work are the Irish bodhrán, the Brazilian pandeiro, the Arabic riq, the North African bendir, and the Azerbaijani ghaval. Although these instruments are similar in construction they all have their own characteristic playing techniques. Velez has studied each instrument traditionally, but has also developed his own cross-cultural musical vocabulary, mixing and adapting techniques from various cultures and developing new ones (such as playing the bodhrán with brushes). Velez has been influential in the growing international interest in frame drums and many younger players now use his techniques.

He also plays other percussion instruments such as the Venezuelan maracas and steel drum, and is skilled at overtone singing.

Velez's compositions are frequently composed for cross-cultural ensembles in which he himself also performs; he is particularly fond of polyrhythm--superimposing different meters simultaneously.

Velez is a longtime member of the Paul Winter Consort and Steve Reich and Musicians. He has also worked with Layne Redmond, Howard Levy, Steve Gorn, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Marc Cohn, Suzanne Vega, Glen Moore, Meredith Monk and Malcolm Dalglish.

Velez's students include Layne Redmond, Yousif Sheronick, Shane Shanahan, Glen Fittin, Randy Crafton and N. Scott Robinson.

Discography[edit]

  • 1983 - Handdance (Music of the World)
  • 1985 - Internal Combustion
  • 1987 - Seven Heaven
  • 1989 - Assyrian Rose
  • 1991 - Doctrine of Signatures
  • 1991 - Ramana (Nomad Records) (Music of the World)
  • 1993 - Borderstates
  • 1993 - Pan Eros
  • 1995 - Ars Moriende
  • 1996 - Rhythmcolor Exotica
  • 1998 - Rhythms of the Chakras
  • 2000 - Breathing Rhythms
  • 2005 - Rhythms of Awakening
  • 2011 - Luminosity Len & Vani Greene

External links[edit]