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World Music Ensemble Director Jamal Mohamed Debuts New Instrument

Mohamed's “Jamal” Dumbek Created in Bali, Sold Abroad

By Katrina Leshan, B.M. ’13 - Guitar Performance and Music Education

Jamal Mohamed, director of the World Music Ensemble at the Meadows School of the Arts, is a distinctive figure in the halls of SMU. He regularly wears eye-catching ethnic garb, always including a colorful, patterned shirt and a skullcap. The clothing reflects not only his Lebanese background but his interest and experiences with many different world cultures. He has traveled and taught throughout the globe, played percussion in various virtuosic ensembles, and absorbed lessons from every culture he has observed. Most recently, Jamal designed a world-class hand drum that bears his name.

One place that Jamal calls home outside of Dallas is Bali, Indonesia, the famed “Island of the Gods.” Toca, a leading manufacturer of hand drum and percussive instruments, has its factory there. During one of his visits to Bali, Jamal met and became friends with factory owner Ed Balma. Ed worked with Jamal for about a year and a half to design what is now known as the Jamal Dumbek, an innovative, durable, and traditional yet modern take on the dumbek hand drum. In the summer of 2010, when Jamal took five students to Bali through the SMU Study Abroad program, they were able to watch the drum being made by hand in the Toca factory.

The Jamal Dumbek was released at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention in 2010 and was very favorably reviewed in the June 2010 issue of DRUM! magazine, one of the most popular monthly publications for percussionists. The Jamal Dumbek is available for purchase at

To see Jamal Mohamed in action, attend any of the following:
•Meadows World Music Ensemble at WorldFest 2010 (October 23-24, 2010)
•Meadows World Music Ensemble at SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre (November 16, 2010)
•Gamelan D’Drum, performed by Jamal's ensemble D'Drum and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (February 3-5, 2011)

For more information about Jamal Mohamed, visit any of the following:

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