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Ann Arbor area percussionist talks about the power of drumming

Glatter playing the conga drum
Glatter playing the conga drum
Photo by Donald Michael Schwartz, March 21, 2010

Now that spring and warmer weather is upon us, a local percussionist suggests celebrating out in the woods with sticks and logs or modern found objects like plastic buckets or cookie tins.

"You can just take your bare minimum kitchen utencils and go out into the woods or over to your friend's and say, 'hey, why don't we play some drums. Why don't we just unwind and play some stuff together,' " said Curtis Glatter, who will be performing at the Kerrytown Concert House this Saturday

In an interview held at the Body ~ Mind ~ Spirit Wellness Center last Sunday - where he led a drum circle - Glatter talked about the importance of drum circles for all kinds of people:

Since we are living in a bit of  a stressful time, economically, it is good to have an outlet other than arguing with your boss, or arguing with your family members...Creating sounds and music through drums instead taking it out on other people.  It is a form of meditation in a lot of ways.

Letting go of some of your angst, and giving into the percussive aspect of life, enjoying it and coming out of it [the drum circle experience] a little bit more relaxed.

Glatter got his first drum set when he was about 8 or  9 years old.

"I started practicing in the basement with the drumset.  I also started practicing with music from Java and Africa, jazz music and also electronic music. 

When Glatter heard electronic music when he was a young child, he was impressed by how, "drum machines were able to go just above and beyond what regular percussionists would do, what drummers would do. So I started practicing to that on my drum set. That built up a bit of a tolerance or a bit of a stamina."

Glatter started practicing with other musicians when he was 16, playing Bali and other types of  world music.  Eventually he began studying classical music.  Later on, he practiced and studied classical jazz and rock music.

After Glatter started reading books by Mickey Hart, he appreciated the essence of drumming, where it came from, and how it was communicated.  He was especially moved by what Hart wrote of the power and importance of log drumming.

"Log drumming was a way of communicating [to] other cities,"said Glatter, "without ever having to use smoke signals or anything.  So back in Africa they used to use log drumming which [used] these large car-sized drums." It was a form of coded language like Morse code, Glatter explained. 

Glatter studies of ancient African drumming music allowed him to better understand the roots of modern world music and contemporary jazz and rock.

Glatter will be holding more drum circles on a monthly basis at the Body ~ Mind ~ Spirit Wellness Center on the third Sunday of each month at 3 pm.

Related Article:

Ann Arbor meditators celebrated spring with a labyrinth walk and a drum circle

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