November 16, 2017
Glen Velez & Loire Cotler
The Great Hall

Four times Grammy Award winner, Glen Velez is the founding Father of the modern frame drum movement and is regarded as a legendary figure among musicians and audiences world-wide. Velez brought a new genre of drumming to the contemporary music scene by creating his own performance style inspired by years of percussion and frame drumming studies from various cultures. Velez’s virtuosic combinations of hand movements, finger techniques, along with his original compositional style, which incorporates stepping, drum language and Central Asian Overtone singing (split-tone singing), has undoubtedly opened new possibilities for musicians around the globe, resulting in a shift in modern percussion.

Loire Cotler is a vocal artist unlike any other. Her range and repertoire expand across cultural and stylistic definitions. For Loire, life has always been about the natural rhythm of the universe which has propelled her into a life, like her music, that is defined by pure cadence and pulse. She has now done no less than create an entirely new genre using the intimate power of her voice as a rhythm instrument. She calls upon a distant past of sacred ritual and echo vocal traditions (the Jewish nigunim, Middle Eastern taksim and Konnakol Indian drum language). Improvising compositions that are both hypnotic and playful, Loire Cotler is an artist in total command of her unique craft.

Event Reflection

by Billy Clouse, Blogger for A.P.E.X. Events and Editor-in-Chief of Thunderground

For the final event of the fall season, A.P.E.X. Events invited Glen Velez and Loire Cotler. The two performed amazing music, which served as a celebration to end an amazing semester of events.

There was so much diversity in the types of speakers brought to campus, from journalists to comedy groups to musicians, and the A.P.E.X. staff couldn't have picked a better group to end with.

The percussionist and singer duo performed beautifully together, and there was something about the drumming and rhythmic vocals together that I could feel in my core. Most musicians these days communicate through the lyrics of the song, but this communicates a universal message, perhaps because every culture in history has had singing and drumming of some kind.

Both musicians were equally fun to listen to, but I was especially impressed with Velez. His tambourine solo was breathtaking, and I had no idea someone could create such beautiful and dynamic music on a $30 tambourine.

I also enjoyed that the couple got the audience directly involved; Cotler taught us how to sing some rhythm vocal lines and Velez taught us how to create overtones.

This celebration was my favorite event of the season, with the intriguing music and kind musicians sharing their personal stories, as well as the stories of the ancient people who started the practices they continue today. The only "problem" with this event is that it felt short because I lost track of time when listening!