Hands On’Semble CD


In 1998, the Hands On’Semble released their self titled debut CD featuring guest performances by Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri (one of the world’s greatest tabla virtuosos), and by Poovalur Srinivasan (master of the south Indian mridangam).

iTunes link





Wart Hog #3 (Austin Wrinkle)

John Bergamo: frame drum
Randy Gloss: riqq
Andrew Grueschow: sogo
Austin Wrinkle: doumbeks


Three Fro (Ed Mann)

John Bergamo: djembe
Randy Gloss: tar-ine
Andrew Grueschow: sogo
Austin Wrinkle: doumbeks, tala cymbal


Piru Bole (John Bergamo)

Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri: Tabla
John Bergamo: quinto and sogo, voice
Randy Gloss: riqq
Andrew Grueschow: frame drum
Austin Wrinkle: doumbeks, marimba


Ode to Joy (Beethoven)

John Bergamo: Jaw Harp


Crevice (Andrew Grueschow)

John Bergamo: djembe
Randy Gloss: gankogui, quinto
Andrew Grueschow: sogo, axastse
Austin Wrinkle: doumbeks, djembe


Swimming to Alifbay (Randy Gloss)

Poovalur Sriji: mridangam, kanjira, konakol
Randy Gloss: riqq, kajar, tala cymbal, gong
Austin Wrinkle: frame drum


Boon Rawd (John Bergamo)

John Bergamo: wiggy-wiggy
Randy Gloss: sauce pan, mason jar
Andrew Grueschow: mason jar, spaghetti pot
Austin Wrinkle: opera gong


Frembe (John Bergamo)

John Bergamo: frame drum
Randy Gloss: frame drum
Andrew Grueschow: djembe
Austin Wrinkle: djembe


Deep Dun-Dun (Randy Gloss)

John Bergamo: spaghetti pot, dun-dun, quinto
Randy Gloss: congas
Andrew Grueschow: sogo, dun-dun
Austin Wrinkle: djembe



“The masterful self-titled album by Hands On’Semble features John Bergamo, Randy Gloss, Austin Wrinkle, Andrew Grueschow, and guests Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and Poovalur Srinivasan working out a kaleidoscope of compositions featuring doumbek, tabla, riq, djembe, and various other worldly hand drums.” -Modern Drummer Magazine

“The members of Hands On’semble are John Bergamo, Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, and Austin Wrinkle. Special guests on this CD include Swapan Chaudhuri and Poovalur Srinivasan. This just might be the best percussion recording ever made. The drumming is of such a high quality that this CD is on my short list of the CDs I can recommend to any drummer or percussionist. It is one of those rare CDs that is wonderful to listen to, and also can be played over and over in order to learn new rhythms and compositional forms. Instruments played include Tabla, Frame Drums, Riq, Djembe, Kanjira, Mridangam, gongs, marimba, sogo , congas, and dumbek. Every drummer should own this CD.”-percussionmusic.com

“The Hands On’Semble (John Bergamo, Andrew Grueschow, Randy Gloss, and Austin Wrinkle) are a California-based group specializing in hand-percussion music. Their self-titled CD contains a collection of of compositions that feature a variety of percussion instruments from around the globe, including the doumbek, riq, frame drum, sogo, tarine, gankogui, mridangam, kanjira, solkattu, and djembe. Most of the “tunes” are based on the musical traditions of India, Africa, the Middle East, and Indonesia.
Many of the compositions are by ensemble members and contain both improvised and composed sections. The liner notes refer to each piece being in basic cycles, not time signatures. As such, “Wart Hog #3” is an undulating little vamp in 7; “Crevice” is an African/Indian sounding tune in 11; “Deep Dun-Dun” is a north Indian inspired tune in a cycle of 14; and “three Fro” is reflective of a gamelan work in a cycle of 6. “Frembe” lays to rest any notions that djembes and frame drums cannot create beautiful music together (as often argued by drum circle participants), while “Boon Rawd” is a result of the ensemble’s experimentation with metal instruments – including the Italian spaghetti pan, and the American mason jar.
This is an excellent recording for listeners who wish to hear the full spectrum of musical sounds available from hand drums from around the world. It would also serve as a good “play-along” for those who wish to learn to play (and improvise) over rhythm cycles other than 4/4.”
-Terry O’Mahoney, Percussive Notes (The Journal of the Percussive Arts Society)

“Our favorite new frame drumming CD!” -rhythmweb.com

“The center of gravity clearly is Indian and Oriental rhythm without succumbing to cerebral exaggeration, the grooves are always exciting, and humor never goes short: They drum on spaghetti pots (why not, if the Indians do it on flower pots), Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy is presented on a Hungarian Jew’s harp. The impossible is made possible in the combination of two djembe drums with two frame drums by using expanded playing techniques. Indian rhythmics are applied to everything (African drums and bells, back beats, etc.) as a common denominator and never appear to be artificial. Thanks to short commentaries all the games are comprehensible; the two Indian teachers of the ensemble, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and Poovalur Srinivasan have splendid guest appearances. Surprising combinations of sounds and rhythms make listening a pleasure, the emphasis is on communicative group playing. John Bergamo, Austin Wrinkle, Randy Gloss, and Andrew Grueschow succeeded in presenting a CD clearly ranking among the most interesting percussion CD’s of the last ten years.” -Michael Weil, Percussion Creative, Germany.