Shradhanjali CD


Shradhanjali, second CD from Hands On’Semble features new compositions, a bonus live track, and a guest performance by legendary Frank Zappa percussionist Ed Mann.

iTunes link





Shradhanjali (John Bergamo)

John Bergamo: cymbals, sogo, djembe, talking drum, shaker, goob-goobi
Randy Gloss: cymbals, riq, scraper
Andrew Grueschow: cymbals, kendang, kitipo, lunga
Austin Wrinkle: cymbals, tabla, doumbek, rebolo, bongos


More Like Chutney (Randy Gloss)

John Bergamo: rice bowl tarang
Randy Gloss: frame drum
Andrew Grueschow: tabla
Austin Wrinkle: doumbek


Arumvarumvu (Hands On’Semble)

Hands On’Semble: things you spin in the wind


Turtle Talk (Andrew Grueschow)

John Bergamo: log drum, bongos, cowbell
Randy Gloss: congas
Andrew Grueschow: lunga, gong, kajar
Austin Wrinkle: cheng-cheng, doumbek


No Thumbs (John Bergamo)

John Bergamo: thumb piano


X-Mas in Goa (Randy Gloss)

Randy Gloss: pandeiro
Austin Wrinkle: tabla


Improv with Ed

Hands On’Semble with Ed Mann


Easy Schlepp (John Bergamo)

Hands On’Semble: Boomwhackers
John Bergamo: cheng-cheng
Andrew Grueschow: berimbau


Piru Bole – Live (John Bergamo)

John Bergamo: sogo, djembe, jaw harp
Randy Gloss: tabla, riq
Andrew Grueschow: frame drum, jaw harp, spaghetti pot
Austin Wrinkle: doumbeks, jaw harp


“The Hands On’Semble is a group of four very talented percussionists- John Bergamo, Andrew Grueschow, Randy Gloss, Austin Wrinkle-who blend percussion oriented musical traditions from around the world to create music with exotic, yet accessible sounds. Working with frame drums, tabla, riqs, doumbeks, and numerous found or created instruments, the ensemble uses vamps, improvisation and enough western musical sensibility to create works from recognizable musical forms that “make sense”to western ears. They seem to be a musical democracy, one in which each member is given ample solo space. The title of this nine-track CD, Shradhanjali, is taken from a sanskrit phrase meaning gratitude for or to one’s teachers.
The title track opens with gamelan inspired metallic sounds before establishing a loping groove that explores Indian rhythmic cycles (talas) and is “tied together with tihai (Indian rhythmic cadences).” “More Like Chutney” is a blending of salsa,
Indian music and jazz – AABA/solos/AABA musical form and emphasis on solos from jazz, Afro-Cuban clave as an underlying rhythmic cycle, and Indian instruments. Its overall sound is more Indian than Salsa, thus the name. “Arumvarumvu” is one of the many names for the bullroarer, a piece of wood tied to a length of string and spun over one’s head. The ensemble created a piece of music, with an actual melody, using only a few of these ancient instruments.
“Turtle Talk” is a work inspired by a combination of Balinese gamelanmusic and a West African bell pattern. “No Thumbs” is a free improvisation on the African thumb piano, or kalimba, by John Bergamo in which he uses his fingers and NO thumbs. “X-Mas in Goa” uses pandeiro and tabla with electronic processing, and almost sounds like a techno dance tune, except with live tambourine and tabla tracks. “Improv With Ed”, with guest percussionist Ed Mann, may be one of the only pieces where one can hear a Densmorephone, an instrument built by former Doors drummer John Densmore. It’s a gamelan-inspired contemporary music work. Sounding like a resonant computer working through a complex program, “Easy Schlepp” features boomwhackers (tuned plastic tubes), a berimbau, and cheng-cheng (Balinese cymbal instrument). “Piru Bole” a live track, is an Indian piece with tabla and syllabic singing.
The Hands On’Semble always creates music with excellent energy and interesting
colors and textures. The music is never so esoteric as to be elitist or incomprehensible, it always grooves. As great as the music is, it is an excellent resource for listeners to be exposed to and learn about percussion traditions from around the world. Anyone who loves hand percussion should check out Shradhanjali.”
-Terry O’Mahoney, Percussive Notes, The Journal of the Percussive Arts Society

“The Hands On’Semble is back with their second CD, Shradhanjali, weaving again intricate sound patterns with an impressive array of percussive instruments from every continent. Led by percussionist extraordinaire John Bergamo, the Hands On’Semble plays music that is pure 21st century California, the fulcrum where the whole planet meets. In the piece that opens the album, for instance, you’ll hear East Asian accelerating patterns followed by a tapestry of African beats and Indian talas, and the result is more than coherent: it is the sound of joyful spirituality. Bergamo, Randy Gloss, Austin Wrinkle and Andrew Grueschow have developed that uncanny communication that makes for telepathic drumming, a phenomenon, that only serious, training can bring forth. Dedicated to all trues teachers, Shradhanjali is a record that can be enjoyed in many ways: if you’re a student of percussion you will groove to the science behind the rhythm, otherwise you can just give your body a series of pretexts to dance with abandon. The effect of the music is not strident at all: I’m cooking my lunch under it’s spell and I find the music very relaxing, even meditative. My favorites: “More Like Chutney”, a piece described in the liner notes as “a merging of fundamental ideas from salsa music, Indian music and jazz”, where Bergamo lays down the law with his makeshift jalatarang (“a scale of six rice bowls from CostPlus”). What a beautiful tune he makes! And while you’re there check out the dialogue between his tuned rice bowls and Grueschow’s tabla: it’ll blow your mind. This is playful music that soars. I also love the brief Arumvarumvu, a ghostly conversation of bull-roarers-like the bard famously said: there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, that are dreamt of in your philosophy…
Amid all the chaos that is our brand new millennium, the Hands On’Semble reminds us that we can celebrate a time where all the continents meet in the sacred frames of drums (and gongs, and goob-goobis and cheng-chengs and lungas and thumb pianos and boomwhackers and jawharps and claves and at least one spaghetti pot). Praise true masters everywhere and enjoy this beautiful music!” -Leon Garcia, WORLD RHYTHM Magazine

“Good drumming has more power to move a wide range of listeners than any other kind of music. When the hands go whappity-whap, your butt and shoulders go unh, you can’t help it. John Bergamo has been figuring out what puts the bomp for more than 40 years; his position as longtime percussion coordinator at CalArts placed him in contact with Austin Wrinkle, Randy Gloss, and Andrew Grueschow, and the four formed the Hands On’Semble in 1997. Since they’ve all worn out airplanes bouncing around the globe picking up tips, their compositions display a precision, complexity and (most important) groove that’ll snap your head around. Cock an ear to the group’s second CD, the new Shradhanjali: The thumps, conks, buzzes, and dings based on riffs from Uncle Mort’s woodshed whiz like electrons. So clean that’s entertainment. We plugged Brad Dutz’s Obliteration Quartet recently, so it’s enough to say that the sounds these four whangers plunder from their yard-sale metallic refuse is artier, but no less enjoyable. At the Philosophic Research Society., 3910 Los Feliz Blvd.; Sat March 30, 8p.m.; $12. (323)663-2167.”
-Greg Burk, L.A. Weekly

“This second release by Hands On’Semble, a quartet devoted to the art of hand drumming, features nine tunes performed on a plethora of instruments from around the world. The four performers, JOHN BERGAMO, RANDY GLOSS, ANDREW GRUESCHOW, and AUSTIN WRINKLE, are either faculty or alumni of the California Institute of the Arts. Improvisation, pulsating rhythms, and unusual instrument combinations abound. “Improv with Ed” features ED MANN on the Densmorephone, made by John Densmore of the Doors. After hearing all the exotic sounds these players produce, listeners may wish for a live performance to see how they do it!”
-Andrea Byrd, Modern Drummer

Date: Wed Nov 14, 2001 6:41 am
Subject: Hands On’semble / CD / PASIC
Greetings, Yahoo FrameDrummer Group members:

I just got the new Hands On’Semble CD in the mail from Randy
Gloss about three days ago, and it is SLAMMIN’, just cooking all
the way through. I’ve been listening to it for three days solid.

Randy wrote me about the CD three or four months ago, when they
were just finishing the recording phase and beginning the mixing
phase. He was really excited about the sessions, saying that the
production and the playing were way improved over their first CD.
This kind of puzzled me, because I liked the first album.

Now I see what he means. All the live gigs they’ve been doing are
paying off big time; The sound has coalesced, and they have this
indelible, unstoppable group identity thang now. One can
literally feel the love they have for what they are doing. This
is the best percussion CD to come out in 2001. There is a nice
new website, with sound samples of the new CD, at

The guest artist is Ed Mann, of Frank Zappa fame. There are all
kinds of instrumentations, including pandeiro with tabla, another
piece for tabla, doumbek, frame drum, and six rice bowls from
Cost Plus, and yet another piece for boomwhackers, berimbau and
cheng cheng called EASY SCHLEP. The pandeiro playing on the CD is
intrepid..very exciting music.

My regards to all you lucky souls that get to go to PASIC in
Nashville this week. Hands On’Semble will be doing a concert
there on Friday night; Dont miss it, because I predict it will be
the high point of the 2001 conference, for hand drummers at

Alas, I have to work..I’ll be there in spirit.
Chris, tell everybody I said ‘hey’..and if you’re going by car,
stop through Dallas on your way back..

Eric Stuer
e at stucreative
stu at rhythmweb