The Doumbek drum comes with as many variations in names as it does in style. Shaped like a Chalice or a Goblet, these drums provide crisp, clear, resonating sound and a beautiful appearance. Whether you play standing up or sitting down, it's hard not to be caught up in the infections beat of a Doumbek drum. The Doumbek is often the lead percussion instrument in Middle Eastern music, featuring prominently in the backbeats of belly dancing melody. As with any popular drum, there are many admired Doumbek players.
Issam Houshan is known as the "King of the Drum" or "Mr.Magic Fingers", but the title of simple Master Percussionist fits him best. His belief that music and dance are intertwined fuels his passion for the drumming. Born in Syria, he is an immigrant to the USA and was trained at Damascus Academy of Music. He has played with Sting at the Grammy awards and has been an integral part of Belly Dance Superstars, a troupe that tours the world. Houshan has also been featured in movies such as 30 days to Vegas and American Belly dancer.
Amir Naoum Chehade has been musical since birth, and his love of the drum has allowed him to attend The Art Studio in Lebanon before becoming a professional drummer. After immigrating to the USA, Amir performed extensively and became a sought after Arabic drummer in New York. With appearances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Amir has also been asked to appear for The United Nations. You can hear his drumming on various Arab, Latin Pop, and Fusion recordings on TV and radio.
Jonathan Kessler has been involved with professional Middle Eastern music for almost 3 decades. A consummate doumbek drummer, he has performed with many great Arab musicians as well as received airplay for his own compositions. Choosing to specifically focus on the Doumbek, he has shared his passion as a teacher at the University of California. Featured in DRUM! Magazine, Kessler currently can be seen on The Doumbek Video
, which focuses on instructional drumming.
As with any percussion instrument, future enthusiasts rely on leaders in the field to fuel their own passion and learning. Whether they are demonstrating specific Doumbek methods or recording beautiful music, Issam Houshan, Amir Naoum Chehade, and Jonathan Kessler all take the Doumbek to the next level, allowing new drummers to catch the spark and begin their own Doumbek journey.