Monday, June 30, 2008

Summit Fire Benefit Concert for Sulyman

A Musician of Many Talents: Sulyman El Coyote lost all of his life's work in the Summit Fire. A Benefit concert for Sulyman will be held on Sunday July 6th.

WHEN : Sunday July 6th, 2008
TIME : 6:30 pm (doors open 6:00pm)
WHERE : at the Vets Hall 846 Front Street in Santa Cruz, CA
COST : $15 donation

DETAILS : Featuring world music by Sulyman, Sirocco and Orient¢al with belly dancers Delilah from Seattle and local favorites Sahar, Crystal, Mashuqa, many other amazing performers and a silent auction.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mother of All Frame Drums

I need some help from the blog readers out there. I purchased what I am calling "the mother of all frame drums" (MOAFD) a few months ago. (See the picture to the right).
MOAFD started its life as a display unit at the local Guitar Center. Its dimensions are: 36" wide x 6" deep. The sound is OK with the current head (a plastic, single ply) but the graphic leaves a lot to be desired. Here's where I need your help...

I'd like to purchase and put a new head on it, but I am unsure which head material to select. First of all there isn't a lot of selection for a 36" orchestral size bass drum, but I do have some choices. I've never played bass drum nor drum kit before, so I don't have an appreciation for the subtleties of the different drum head choices. I am hoping that one of you has the experience to guide me in making my selection for a new drum head:

  • Ambassador
  • Fiberskyn
  • Renaissance
  • Other??

I want to play this drum with my hands, like a frame drum. So the question is which of these head material choices will provide the best sound, with the most overtones? I plan to tighten it pretty tight. I am thinking that timpani head would be good, but they don't make 'em this large.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yemeni Music Concert in San Francisco

Ahamed Alrodini & Friends

Oud player, Singer, percussionist (dumbek and frame drum), Alrodini was born in Bakat Al Hoddeidah on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. Learning music informally from the time he was a small boy, Alrodini once made himself an oud from found objects including parts of a gas tank from an abandoned truck. He first came to the United States in 1988 on a tour with Fouad Al Kibsi and Haifa Omar, prominent Yemeni musicians. He started performing on Yemeni Radio & TV as a teenager in Sanaa. Alrodini is one of only a few Brooklyn, NY based artists who come from the South/Red Sea area and his expertise in that region's polyrhthmic percussion music is a rarity. He's also steeped in the many regional styles, including the more classical Sanaani poetry songs.

WHEN: Saturday June 28th
TIME: 7pm
COST: Tickets are $40

Call (646) 594-6026

Union Hall
240 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco 94102
415 885-0087

* see link to directions below

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Arabic music at the Cayuga Vault

Don't miss this wonderful weekend of Arabic music at the Cayuga Vault in Santa Cruz July 12 & 13:

Intensive Weekend Seminar in Arabic Music with composer Elias Lammam of Beirut, Lebanon
When: Sat & Sun July 12th - 13th
Date: 1:00pm - 5:30pm each day
A rare opportunity for musicians trained in western, classical, jazz, or other musical traditions to obtain a comprehensive introduction to Arabic music and learn several classic songs in just two days, with Elias Lammam, one of the most knowledgeable and talented Arabic musicians in the U.S.

Presented by Mediterraneo Productions To register please call 831-227-9514

Early registration deadline for the music seminar is June 30.
Take one or more classes for $40 each, or take the entire workshop plus concert ticket for $175 by 6/30 (after 6/30: $50 per class or $200 for entire workshop plus concert ticket)
Four 2-hour classes:
Saturday: Maqams/Arabic Music Theory and Arabic Rhythms
Sunday: Vocals (co-taught by Georges Lammam) and Ensemble class
For details or to download printable registration form please see:

And an Evening Concert by:

The Georges Lammam Ensemble featuring Elias Lammam
Saturday July 12th - 8pm
tix $18/$22 adv. tix available at Gateways Books & Gifts (831) 429-9600

Mediterraneo Productions presents an evening of exquisite Arabic music with Elias Lammam, master of microtonal accordion, and his brothers: violin virtuoso Georges Lammam, and Antoine Lammam, master of Arabic percussion (tabla, riq), presenting classical and popular Arabic music as well as original compositions.

At the Cayuga Vault 1100 Soquel Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062
"Supporting Original Music, Emerging Art, and Diverse Culture"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vdeo Podcast: Stretching exercises

David Kuckherman posted some exercises for avoidng tendonitis and carpel tunnel strain. These exercises stretcht the tendons and muscles in your hands and arms.

Here's David's website:

Here's the video:

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Weekend of Arabic Music with Elias Lammam

Mediterraneo Productions proudly presents:

A Weekend of Arabic Music with Elias Lammam
July 12-13, 2008 at the Cayuga Vault
1100 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA

Master of microtonal accordion, renowned vocalist and composer from Beirut, Lebanon, Elias Lammam has been a featured musician on worldwide concert tours with famed Iraqi singer KASEM AL SAHER, including concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York, and toured with other notable singers Rageb Alame, George Wasouf, Ghassan Saliba, Joseph Noumnom. He has also toured with superstar Oriental dancer AMANI of Lebanon and dancer SAMARA, and has composed for Egyptian dancer DINA and many others. He is currently a core member of the Georges Lammam Ensemble, introducing Americans to the remarkable Oriental Accordion. He plays annually to standing ovations at the Cotati Accordion Festival in Cotati, CA. He currently instructs two music ensemble classes in northern California and offers private instruction in accordion, voice, percussion, oud, and other instruments. Elias makes a rare stop in Santa Cruz, CA to offer an intensive 2-day seminar in Arabic music, and he and his virtuoso brothers, Georges and Antoine, as the Georges Lammam Ensemble, will play an evening concert featuring classical and popular Arabic music, original works, and favorite tunes for open floor dancing.

Two-day Intensive Music Seminar: Introduction to Arabic Music
July 12 & 13, 1:00 pm - 5:30pm each day (Sat & Sun)
Four classes, 2 hours each:
Maqams, Rhythms, Vocal Techniques, and Ensemble Class
An intensive introduction to Arabic music for instrumentalists and vocalists trained in Western classical, jazz, or other musical traditions, and beginning- to intermediate-level students of Arabic music.

Dancers without formal musical backgrounds, but with experience on zils or percussion may wish to try out the rhythms class, and if you enjoy singing, the vocals class. You may also be interested in the Maqams class, which will cover Arabic music theory (musical modes & scales, cultural & historic background). If you don't have/can't play a melodic instrument you may enroll & just listen or sing the notes. Georges Lammam will assist in teaching the vocals class.

Take one or more classes for $40 each (by June 30) or $50 each (after June 30).
Or register for entire weekend: $175 for all 4 classes plus 1 concert ticket (by June 30).
After June 30: $200 for entire weekend.

Further details and registration form available at:


Evening Concert

WHEN: Saturday, July 12, 8:00pm
The Georges Lammam Ensemble, featuring Elias Lammam
Classical & popular Arabic music and original works by the renowned Lammam brothers.
$18 Adv/$22 at the door
Advance tickets available at Gateways Books & Gifts
1126 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz
Order by phone at: 831-429-9600

Both events will be held at the Cayuga Vault in Santa Cruz

For more information about these events and other upcoming Arabic music & dance events in the San Francisco Bay Area, please see:

For lodging and other Santa Cruz visitor info:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

World of Drumming II, Grass Valley CA

WORLD OF DRUMMING II is a Percussion Extravaganza featuring Drumming from Around the World. This fundraising event strives to help St. Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley raise additional funds to pay for yearly insurance costs.

WHEN: Saturday, June 21, 2008 7:00 PM
WHERE: St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 South Church Street, Grass Valley
WHO: Grass Valley Taiko, the Earth Rhythms Dancers and Drummers, Capoeira Em Movimento Grass Valley, Joe Fajen and friends, the Feather River Singers, the Blue Lotus Percussion Ensemble, Grupo Omo Ache, Samba Louco with Jeff Wax, and other special guests. Rarely are so many talented percussionists assembled in one venue.
ADMISSION: $20.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door Advance Ticket Purchase is Highly Recommended.

Tickets available at the BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley, After the Gold Rush Records in Nevada City and at the office of St. Joseph's Cultural Center

Information: Joseph Guida at St. Joseph's Cultural Center 530-272-4725


Join us as we honor the traditions of the drum and celebrate its power to unify humanity.
Man has been beating on drums from as far back as history records. Among numerous other artifacts found through the years, hollowed out logs were excavated that were believed to be communication devices in primitive times. Drums would later take a more prominent role in tribal ceremonial gatherings where they accompanied ritual dancing and celebration

The concept of drums is as old as mankind. A drum is called a membranophone, or an instrument that creates sound by striking a stretched membrane with some type of object, usually a rounded stick. Drums consist of a hollowed-out piece (called the body), a membrane stretched over the end of the drum, and tuning keys or pegs which tighten or loosen the membrane to achieve different tones. While most may think that the body of the drum produces the sound, it is in fact actually the membrane and its vibration that creates the sound when struck.
Drums first appeared as far back as 6000 BC. Mesopotamian excavations unearthed small cylindrical drums dated 3000 BC. Several wall markings found in caves in Peru show drums used in various aspects of societal life. The American Indians used gourd and wooden constructed drums for their rituals and ceremonies. Drums have always been used for more than merely creating music. In Africa, where music is simply an interpretation of everyday life in sound, drums were used as speech. Simply a pattern of beats played in a certain way could communicate vast amounts of information. Today, drums can be made of everything from plastic to basic metal, and some even exist in iron, bronze and steel.
The Performers

Grass Valley Taiko was founded in 2000 from modest beginnings as a basic Taiko workshop conducted in Grass Valley. Taiko, a Japanese style of drumming has a long and rich history, It was used to call the Gods to alter existing conditions such as warding off pestilence, bringing rain, blessing a harvest or inviting the ancestors to join in celebration of the family. Villages used the drums to communicate; soldiers were sent to war and fisherman called in from the sea. In 2004 founder Mitzi Garnett took lead of the group's direction and today the group has over 50 members ranging in ages from 7 – 70 and makes Taiko Dojo home in historic Saint Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley. Grass Valley Taiko conducts classes 4-6 times per week and actively participates in many community and educational events, among these events are the Nevada County Fair, school assemblies, parades, wedding receptions, picnics, grand openings, and dedications. Mitzi Garnett combines her creative interpretations of traditional pieces with those created by Grass Valley Taiko to present a cornucopia of styles and rhythms which intrigues and delights audiences of all ages. Visit the dojo online at

Joe Fajen became a tabla convert and student of North Indian classical tabla playing in 1989 while living in Davis. Right away he had the happy fortune of taking tabla classes with Zakir Hussain in Berkeley, which continued for a number of years. Joe also studied tabla with Swapan Chaudhuri, Arshad Sayed, and Ty Burhoe. Joe plays tabla for classical Indian instrumentalists whenever he can. He also loves to accompany kirtan and kathak dance. He plays with Ross Kent, Roses, Roses, Jaya Lakshmi, Simrit Kaur & Jai Dev Singh, Angelika and others. He often accompanies and collaborates with kathak dancer Anya Devi and cellist Arthur Gould. He plays trombone in Sabroso, a local Latin jazz band, and studies trombone and music theory with Ludi Hinrichs in Nevada City. Joe teaches drum workshops from time to time and teaches privately. For this night he will be performing with Andrew Gold on cello and Linton Hall on Bansuri flute

Capoeira Raca Em Movimento: Capoeira is a Brazilian cultural art form encompassing elements of martial arts, dance, music, and acrobatics. It was developed by African slaves in Brazil as a fighting technique disguised as a dance. Movement is accompanied by music played on traditional instruments and songs that tell of the history of this ritual combat. Although Capoeira is considered a martial art, it is practiced and "played" with little or no contact. Kicks, strikes, and sweeps are displayed and defended against within a "game" between two players who improvise their movements to the music and song provided by on looking capoeiristas (players) awaiting their turn to play. Professor Joao Marcio Pires comes to us from Sao Paulo, Brazil where he studied Capoeira and graduated with his Professor's cordao (belt) under Mestre Enir at the Capoeira Raca Em Movimento school in the city of Braganca Paulista. In October of 2005 Professor Joao Marcio began teaching classes in Grasss Valley establishing our local Capoeira Raca Em Movimento group. Learning this dynamic art form involves the integration of strength, flexibility, agility, endurance, discipline, rhythm, and more. Classes are currently taught at the Sierra Dance Institute in Grass Valley on Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:45pm, and Saturday's at 11:00am and is open to all levels and ages. For more information call (530) 277-9743 or email
Earth Rhythm Dancers and Drummers are based in Nevada City, CA, is a group of performers that presents dances, drum rhythms and songs from the Congo, West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, and North America. Most of the group's performing repertoire are traditional dance and drum pieces from the cultures that some members have apprenticed with, and some pieces are a collective choreography creation by the members of this troupe. Earth Rhythms performances are high energy, energetic presentations that depict the power and love of the life force in the members of the collective and in the cultures from which the dance pieces derive their roots.
Feather River Singers is a Women’s Drum with exciting energy, a soothing beat and original style in Cherokee and English. They are dedicated to preserving their native language through songs. Their debut CD “Daughters of the Earth” features all original materials by group members breaks into new territory in Native music. Prentice Robinson, Cherokee linguist from Tulsa, Oklahoma acted as language consultant for this project. Inspired by The Mankillers, Walela and Ulali, these women bring melody and a Cherokee touch to their songs. Their first recording efforts received national recognition from the 8th Annual Native American Music Awards when their album was nominated for Debut Artist/Group of the Year. The album title, “Daughters of the Earth”, reflects the theme of their CD. The sound studio was in a natural outdoor setting; microphones were placed in trees so bird sounds became part of the recording. Larry Badger and Curt Burrows of Joyful Sound recorded the album on location. Badger later mixed and mastered the final CD in Joyful Sound’s Yuba City studio. The album insert was designed by the singers, and former member LE Honyecutt is credited with the original artwork. The insert depicts the Great Smokey Mountains of the Cherokee homeland, with the seven birds representing the seven Cherokee clans.
"We are women, woman singers.We understand that the songs are prayers.And to consent to sing is to serve."-Coyote Woman 2007-Feather River Singers are Jesse Harris, Choctaw, Gwen Cochran, Cherokee/Comanche, Anna Eyre, Cherokee/Choctaw, LE Honeycutt, Cherokee/Choctaw/Blackfoot and Barbara Warren, Cherokee; Front row: Kathleen Shain, Cherokee/Choctaw, Seth Honeycutt, Cherokee/Choctaw/Blackfoot and Pam Ames, Cherokee

Blue Lotus Percussion Ensemble performs the music of Morocco and Middle East on Mizwiz (reed flute), Karakeb (metal clackers), bender (frame drum with snares), and doumbec (clay hand drum).

Grupo Omo Ache performs rhythms and chants or praise songs to the Orishas. The Orishas are Yoruban deities that represent the divine force of nature, the universe and all aspects of human life. The hour glass shaped drums known as bata, were originally brought to Cuba from Nigeria by Yoruban slaves. The bta are said to “speak” the ritual language of the Orishas. Gary Greenberg is the Director.

Samba Louco Percussion group Samba Louco brings together Placer and Nevada County lovers of Brazilian rhythms. Beginning with Nevada City's annual Joe Cain and Mardi Gras procession entries, led by Sarah Keller and Kit Bailey, the group has played its danceable grooves for parades, festivals and dance classes from North San Juan all the way to Auburn. Samba Louco ("crazy samba") got its name and a seriously fun upgrade when Jeff Wax of Meadow Vista brought his drumming friends and sparkling arrangements to Deanna Figueira's dance classes at St. Joseph's in 2007

A World of Drumming II is a benefit for St. Joseph's Cultural Center insurance costs.
Last year’s benefit for insurance costs featured Joanna Newsom and Aaron Ross. Last year’s benefit was a huge success.

A World of Drumming I took place in November, 2006 at the Center for the Arts as a benefit for Tibet Tech, which funded a computer lab in a Tibetan Nunnery in southern India. It was a sold out success.