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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Hands On’semble

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published April 3, 2007

Hands On’Semble

For some people, particularly those with no sense of rhythm, the very idea of a CD featuring percussion—and nothing else—would undoubtedly be nightmarish indeed. But for those who actually sit and listen intently to the drum solo at a concert, who follow the intricate, split-second nuances of interlocking grooves and marvel at the ingenuity of musicians who bang on things for a living, Hands On’Semble is a treat. On their fourth album, the core group of hand drummers is joined by an all-star international cast including Indian tabla master Swapan Chaudhuri, as well as Adam Rudolph, Abbos Kosimov, Houman Purmehdi and Brad Dutz. Together, utilizing an array of Western and global percussion instruments with names that will be unfamiliar to most (djembe, tonbak, daf, zamumba, ndu, lunga, etc.), they spill out an intoxicating trio of surprisingly tuneful, tonally rich, relentlessly rhythmic suites of both improvised and composed music.