Ken Shorley
Musics of the World, Gamelan, World Rhythm and Drumming




Contact Information
Office   Denton Hall Room 156
Telephone   902-585-1303

Courses Taught
MUSI 2063 Musics of the World
MUSI 2083 World Rhythm and Drumming
MUSI 2383 Intro to Gamelan

Ken Shorley is a Canadian percussionist and composer who specializes in the hand drumming traditions of the Middle East and India. He is based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, and his musical passions have taken him to many parts of the globe. He has studied with some of the world’s finest percussionists, most notably the South Indian master drummer, Vidwan Professor Trichy Sankaran.

Ken is also an avid player and teacher of Indonesian gamelan music. His ensemble is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, performing traditional and contemporary music for Sundanese gamelan degung. The group has premiered new gamelan music by Canadian and Indonesian composers.  He has been a featured performer (as both bandleader and accompanist) at the Halifax Jazz Festival, Sound Symposium, Prismatic Festival, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Sunfest, Mosaiq Festival, Deep Roots Music Festival, and on national broadcasts for CBC Radio. Ken’s fascination with rhythm and the flow of time has inspired compositions for Solo Percussion, Percussion Ensemble (TorQ Percussion Quartet, Quey Percussion Duo, and Ken’s world percussion ensemble, KST), Gamelan (OMBAK, Acadia Gamelan Ensemble), Chamber Music (Paula Rockwell, Ade Suparman, autorickshaw, India Gailey), occasionally but not often enough for String Quartet (Underground Jazz Quartet, Blue Engine Quartet), and really only very occasionally for Western Orchestra (NSYO, Symphony Nova Scotia).

As a faculty member with the Acadia University School of Music, Ken created and developed Atlantic Canada’s first university credit courses in world drumming and gamelan. In 2019, he travelled to Chennai, India with the financial support of Acadia University to deliver a lecture-demonstration at the prestigious Madras Music Academy. In 2021 he was honoured to be a presenter at the Tamburi Mundi Frame Drum Festival of Freiburg, Germany. In recent years, Ken has expanded his creative output through video, audio and livestream production with Triangle House Studios, and as an electronic musician, under the name zhorli.

Ken Shorley is a proud endorser for Cooperman frame drums.

2019 Summer Tabla Workshop, McGill University (Montreal QC)
2018 Carnatic Rhythm Immersion (Chennai, India)2014 Ade Suparman Gamelan Degung Workshop (Bandung, West Java, Indonesia)
2010 Gamelan Intensive in Bali and Java (Center for World Music: San Diego CA, USA)
2008 Arab Music Retreat, Mount Holyoke College (Amherst MA, USA)
2002 Kalalayam : Trichy Sankaran South Indian Rhythm Intensive (Toronto ON)
1998 World Percussion Intensive, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver BC)
1992 BFA Honours, York University (Toronto ON)

Links & Website
zhorli on Bandcamp:

Links to Performances and Recordings
KST performing an original piece, Finding Our Way:
Ken gives a solkattu lesson:
Frame Drum Workout:
Quartet for a Rainy Sunday (for multi-tracked percussionist):