Percussionist/composer Michael Udow is here this week for performances, workshops and a recording session. I attended a concert last night that was a joint affair between the Philidor Percussion Group and the NCSA Percussion Ensemble, featuring Udow’s works.

Though it’s not really my cup of tea (I have a hard time getting excited about five minutes of sandpaper scraping, no matter how clever the rhythmic relationships may be), I’m so glad we have him here, so the students can work with a terrific guy who has a lot to share both artistically and professionally. In particular, I like having the students exposed to viewpoints that are very different from mine, which sure beats me trying to cover all the bases myself.

The part of the concert that really grabbed me, though, was the West African and Indian music played by members of Philidor. The tabla, mrdangam and jembe have such a rich range of tones; in the hands of real masters they can be revelatory.

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