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SMU-affiliated Percussion Ensemble D’Drum Wins National Reader Poll

Following a Drummies award win, D’Drum will perform in 2011 Stewart Copeland premiere with DSO

By Jordan Rutledge (B.A. CCPA - ‘12)

DRUM! magazine recently released its 2010 Reader’s Choice “Drummies” awards, and SMU-affiliated group D’Drum was named “Best Percussion Ensemble.” Four of the five band members teach music at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, including Jamal Mohamed; John Bryant; Ed Smith; and Doug Howard, who is also the principal percussionist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Competition was intense; runners-up in the category included the Blue Man Group.

Jamal Mohamed, who directs the World Music Ensemble at SMU, explained that D’Drum started out in 1992 as “just an ensemble for fun.” He said they began playing on drums from the Ewe people of Ghana, which they acquired to learn Ewe music. Gradually they began to play other rhythmic traditions, and were invited to perform at the Dallas Museum of Art. Mohamed said that it all “snowballed” from there.

Along with the recent award from DRUM! magazine, D’Drum is set to present the world premiere of a new work, Gamelan D’Drum by Stewart Copeland, in performance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 3-5, 2011. Copeland, a five-time Grammy winner, is best known as the drummer of famed rock band The Police. However, he also has composed operas, ballets, chamber music pieces, and film scores. Copeland will be in attendance for all three performances.

D’Drum blends the sounds of traditional Bali, Africa, and Persia with western classical and jazz forms. The group has been featured in an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary of their travels, in the score for the National Geographic film “Lions of Darkness,” and on the PBS children’s show “Wishbone.” D’Drum’s music is available for purchase on iTunes.

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