Famous Artists and their Circles 9 : Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Glennie (born 1965)

You may wish to use this page along with Merry-Go-Round Booklet p.38: Listen, listen, here I come!  : Merry-Go-Round booklet

One thing all drums have in common is their circular shape. From earliest times, drums have been used to bring people together. The name of the African djembe even means ‘everyone gather together’. Other gathering drums are big enough to be able to be played by a whole group of people at once. Drums can communicate messages, inspire play and facilitate work, as well as expressing meaning within the contexts of death, war, and spirituality.

The Scottish virtuoso Dame Evelyn Glennie (born 1965) uses drums and all manner of percussion instruments as a means of bringing people together. Though she lost most of her hearing at eight years old, she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goal of becoming a performer – what great determination she has! When she plays she has to ‘feel’ the sound of her instruments as vibrations through her body, rather than ‘hear’ them with her ears.

Her mission in life is to help all of us to be better listeners: “listening is about more than just hearing; it is about engaging, empowering, inspiring and creating bonds”.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, she published a new piece called Beat of Hope. Fun and uplifting, it uses small instruments, garden furniture, bird feeders, piano and voice, ending with a community’s clapping/pot banging for the NHS! Can you hear them (link below)? There’s a middle section for you to join in whichever way you wish!


Beat of Hope (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd0xufW6KeY


Find out more:

Website: all about Evelyn Glennie: https://www.evelyn.co.uk/


The Musical Life of Gustav Mole – Kathryn Meryick (need the book with the CD)

An inspiring story about a mole who devoted his life to music-making.






Download a pdf version of this page : _Famous Artists and their Circles 9 Glennie

Produced by An Lanntair as part of Full Circle Arts programme.  Funded through the Aspiring Communities Fund with support from the European Social Fund.