If there are legends among female metal drummers, Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie is one of them. Born in July 1965, the Scottish percussionist has set a record as one of the best on the market. She was selected one of the two laureates for the Polar Music Prize in 2015.
One of the things that stands out with the drummer is her charismatic personality. Those who have interacted with her say she is one of the most outgoing people. Over the years, Evelyn Glennie has established herself as a sort-after metal drummer.
She was born in the Methlick, Aberdeenshire, to Harbet Glennie, an accordionist. She grew up under the indigenous musical traditions of northeast Scotland, a vital part of her development as a musician. She started by playing a mouth organ and a clarinet.
Apart from her father, other influences come from Glenn Gould and Trilok Gurtu. She went to Ellon Academy and the Royal Academy of Music. She was also a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland,
Glennie established herself as a reputable drummer through hard work and practice. She knew what she wanted in life and set the gear to achieve it. It’s, therefore, no wonder that she became a member of the Cults of Percussion Ensemble formed by Ron Forbes in 1976. She was with the group when they toured and recorded one album.
Glennie started showing interest in music at a very young age. Her father was a musician, and most people around her life were musicians. They played a major role in influencing her to take up drumming a full career.
Her tours are mostly in the northern hemisphere, where she spends four months every year. She performs with many orchestras and musicians, getting more than 100 concerts every year. She also attends master classes and “music schools” performances. She commissions percussion works from composers and performs them in different concerts.
And that is not all; she also plays at the Great Highland Bagpipes. Besides, she has her own registered tartan by the name “Rhythms of Evelyn Glennie. Currently, she is in the process of producing her own jewelry and is a motivational speaker.
She got a chance to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London 2012. She was the leader of a thousand drummers in the opening piece of the music. She played the Allophone during the ceremony of Olympic cauldron lighting.
And in April 2021, she was named as the Chancellor of Robert Gordon University after Sir Ian Wood. She is not only successful as a drummer but in other aspects of her life too.
She is all that, and yet she is deaf! Most people would have given up on life and their drums if they faced what happened to Glennie. Her deafness makes you wonder where her music comes from. Well, it is from the heart. You don’t just hear; she makes you feel it. And she has continued to inspire many generations through it.