The frame drum is one of the most ancient musical instruments; it is reputed to be the first drum to be invented.
Basic, primal & extremely powerful musical instrument.
Early depictions of the instrument can already be found in ancient Mesopotamian art from the third millennium BCE. Its unique sound characteristics & intense rhythms have made it the perfect accompaniment for religious ceremonies & rituals in different cultures causing the participants to enter a state of trance and ecstasy.
The frame drum has different names in different cultures : Daf, Bodhrán, Tar, Bendir, Dayereh, Doyra Shaman Drum, Tof, Dob, Parai & Rebana to name just a few. One cannot ignore the phonetic resemblance of some of the frame drum names :
Tof ( Hebrew ) – Daf ( Kurdish-Persian ) – Dob ( Hungarian ) & even Thappu ( Indian ).
The frame drum is basically a frame or a hoop usually made of wood & a skin stretched across it. The size of the frame is usually 14″-22″ in diameter. Its smaller family relative is the tambourine drum also known as pandeiro in Brazil.
The frame drum has 3 main variants :
1.Frame drum with skin only : Tar, Bodhrán, Shaman Drum.
2.Frame drum with skin & jingles : Daf, Ghaval, Doyra.
3.Frame drum with skin & snare : Bendir.
Frame drums are usually played with the hands & especially with the fingers but it can also be played with a ‘beater’ or a stick like the Irish Bodhrán or the Sri Lankan Parai drum.
Click here for a beautiful image gallery of frame drums.
In my YouTube playlist above I tried to introduce some of the most amazing & awe-inspiring frame drum solos so that you can experience the ecstatic qualities of the instrument & the amazing mastery of the drummers. This YouTube list is by no means complete & I have probably left out some other amazing frame drum masters. I will share more frame drum delights in my future posts 🙂
So what’s on the list ?
1.Zohar Fresco – an Israeli frame drum & percussion master. He is playing a David Roman frame drum in this performance. Like many other modern frame drum masters he is utilizing various middle eastern & central Asian techniques creating his own unique style of playing. A percussion genius in action. Breathtaking.
2.David Kuckhermann – a German percussion master & educator. Additionally to his unique style of playing & overwhelming mastery he also introduces the multi-frame drums playing technique which I find so musical & beautiful. I had the honor & pleasure of featuring David & his unbelievable technique, sound & mastery on 3 tracks from my new ‘Ecstatic Rhythms‘ album. Thank you David ! That was an out of body experience :-)
3.Glen Velez – an American percussion master. The man & the legend. Considered by many to be the number one pioneer in modern frame drum techniques, adopting various playing techniques from around the globe & adding his own style & touch. Here he is playing his unique custom made Bodhrán. Enjoy this unique & true master 🙂
4.Mohsen Taherzadeh – an Iranian percussion master. In this amazing solo Mohsen is playing the Kurdish-Iranian Daf frame drum & introduces different techniques & approaches to the instrument. I especially like the ecstatic & spiritual character of his playing.
5.Abbos Kosimov – an Uzbeki percussion master. Abbos is an amazing virtuoso in various percussion instruments. In this clip he plays the Uzbeki medium sized frame drum named Doyra. A few of them actually. Great inspiration.
6.Shane Shanahan – an American percussion master. Shane is a virtuoso on different percussion instruments. I believe it’s a 22″ Cooperman frame drum that he is playing here & he also incorporates an interesting Mongolian overtone throat singing technique which adds a unique ceremonial character to this frame drum playing.
7.Mokhtar Zand Salimi – I couldn’t find much information about this apparently Kurdish frame drum master but his frame drum playing was so ecstatic & awe-inspiring that I had to include it in this list.
I hope you'll enjoy this incredible percussion mastery & as always feel free to leave a comment & share your feedback 🙂