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World percussionist Job Verweijen and EsperantoMusic

“...and the roots of rhythm remain” (Paul Simon – Under African Skies)


EsperantoMusic is the name I've given to my vision on creating and playing music.

Esperanto is the univeral language developed by Polish doctor Ludwig Zamenhof at the end of the 19th century. It was his vision that a simple, logical and neutral language could highly improve communication among the peoples of the world and therefor help break down cultural boundaries. Worldwide peace was his true goal when he developed this language by taking elements from different language groups and fusing them together. Although there are millions of people worldwide who speak Esperanto, the language unfortunately never had the impact that Zamenhoff hoped for, largely because of the dominance of the English-American culture.

It is my belief that the last true Esperanto that is left in the world is Music. Sincere music has the power to touch people regardless of their culture, race, gender, religion or social status and to bring about true communication. This is what is needed in these increasingly harsh times.

My approach towards making music and playing percussion has always been fueled by this vision. I’ve tried to fuse elements from around the world in creating my own vocabulary. This has led to the development of the Esperanto Kit, a percussion setup in which the main element is a set of four Esperanto Drums. These hand drums were custom built and I have incorporated elements of the Cuban conga, Senegalese Bougarabou and cajon in them. Besides rhythm, my style of playing incorporates lots of sound colors and melodies through small percussions and tuned instruments like the Swiss invented Hang, Marimbula and Sansula (two thumb pianos) and the tonga drum (a slit drum originated in Africa).

Throughout all my travels in music I’ve always held the hope that somehow my playing will have a postive impact on the world. To use the words of one of my inspirators:  

“Good rhythm is what this world needs a lot of now, because good rhythm is the antidote for hate.”

(Mickey Hart: drummer/percussionist for the Grateful Dead, Planet Drum and others, researcher, author)


Instruments & Teachers

Because of my personal approach to playing and my ideas, I use custom-built instruments from luthiers and small companies almost exclusively. Besides that, some of the instruments I play are built or designed by myself, like the Snaron, a snare-mechanism that I use on the Esperanto Drums and that is being produced now by Stiggelbout Percussion in the Netherlands.

Thanks to the following instrument builders - it is through their works that I can express myself: Pete Engelhart (Metal Percussion), Joe Galeota (Jag Talking Drums), Frank Giorgini (Udu Drum), John Stannard (Om Percussion), Cabello Organic Percussion in Brazil, Peter Hokema (Sansula), Sabine and Felix Rohrer (Panart Hang), Schlagwerk Percussion in Germany and Stiggelbout Percussion in the Netherlands.

Thanks to my teachers - Toon Oomen, thanks for putting me on the path of music and for opening my eyes; Bart Fermie, thanks my friend for your faith in me and your invaluable lessons all these years; Jan-Luc van Eendenburg, thanks for giving me my first lessons in latin percussion; Arto Tuncboyaciyan, thanks for kicking my ass in Cologne and for pushing me in the right direction; Layne Redmond, the Priestess of the Tambourine, for a great weekend and David Kuckermann for your amazing riq lesson.


For more information contact Emily or Rebecca: ember@embersong.com

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