What happens when you blend the talents of a four time Grammy winning Master Drummer and composer with a Rhythm Vocalist whose youtube video entitled What Is Lori Cotler Singing? has become a sensation? Partners in music and in life, Lori Cotler and Glen Velez speak in an unusual language, with which many Westerners are not yet familiar and smile with delight when they do hear it. According to Lori, the “rhythmic singing comes from the South Indian drum language called Solkattu or Konnakol.” Together they are called Ta Ka Di Mi Duo
Glen began to study South Indian drumming and “since the drum language is part of the learning process from the beginning”, that was the way he came upon it, and then he shared with Lori whose voice perfectly executes what I think of as ‘drum scat’. Together they paint exquisite musical landscapes. I had the joy of watching them perform recently when they came into the Philadelphia area to participate in a fundraiser for Music For People.
Glen says that he has “always been attracted to drumming. When I was young, I studied stick drumming of various kinds, then when I was about 27, I started to study hand drumming and that focus has continued to the present. The hand drumming satisfied my need to actually touch the drum and the frame drum was the ideal vehicle for my creative impulses.” and Lori offered “From as far back as I can remember, my identity was bound up with music. I started piano lessons when I was five or six. Even at that age, my parents recognized how strong my gravitation was towards music. Their support was unconditional every step of the way. I studied various instruments throughout my life and began composing songs at around 11 yrs old.”
Glen feels that “The musical experience is a doorway to contentment. I think it has that value for anyone willing to focus their energy on it.” and Lori expresses “Music is a powerful component to experiencing peace, but I believe there are many other facets to the human experience, which when combined, can lead to this state of being we call Peace.”
Music was also the doorway through which they met, as Glen explains “I was teaching a class at New School where Lori was teaching also and mutual colleagues introduced us. We realized quite quickly that we shared lots of musical interests and began to collaborate soon after.”
When standing on stage, Lori feels “We are engaged in a pure exchange with one another. The lineage of this beautiful exchange, between the musician and an audience, must go back very very far, so it is exciting for me to keep this awesome tradition of ‘live performance’ alive.”