Gulli Briem


Gulli Briem

"Yamaha drums have been in my life since I started playing at eleven years old. My first kit was a Yamaha. They are the most consistent drums that I know. On my Yamaha Birch Custom drums I can express myself freely & musically. The incredible punch from these drums, their dynamic range, consistency and clarity, improves any of my musical situation with Mezzoforte or session work" (Gulli Briem 2012)

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland. As a child Gulli started banging on pots and pans on the kitchen floor of the family home in Reykjavik. Played guitar for two years and sang in a school band until the original drummer got sick and was forced to leave his chair. Practiced drums in the loft of the Briem family residence, while playing in high school bands and musicals, where he met Johann Asmundsson a co-founding member of Mezzoforte (1977). The pair soon met Eythor Gunnarsson and Fridrik Karlsson in a Reykjavik music store, where Fridrik sold guitars. Recorded and toured with the band internationally from 1982. Their first big worldwide success with the group was in 1983 with the U.K. dance funk hit "Garden Party" and the Surprise, Surprise album. Mezzoforte has been nominated five times as the drummer of the year in Iceland.

EDUCATION: Gulli took private drum lessons in Reykjavik at the age of 12. Graduated from The Commercial College of Iceland in spring 1980. Studied classical percussion and music theory at the FIH Jazz conservatory in Reykjavik 1980-1983 and The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 1992 with Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphrey, Marc Rio and Joe Bracato.

EARTH AFFAIR is Gulli´s side project, where he writes the music and explores new territories with unusual compositions and sounds. First album "Chapter one" was released in 2004 on Skip Records/Hamburg, featuring singer Morten Harket and The Voces Thules Gregorian singers.

In 2006 he took his band and performed at Nelson Mandela´s 46664 awareness concert for Africa, which took place in Tromso, Norway along with Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Annie Lennox and Brian May. Gulli is an ambassador for the 46664 Nelson Mandela foundations.

He has written several drum and percussion pieces: incl. a piece for 5 drummers and 2 classical percussionists, which was performed outdoor on the Reykjavik Cultural Night, august 1999, as well as two modern dance pieces for choreographer Helena Jonssdottir. In 2009 Gulli wrote and performed "The Big Bang" with the Norwegian Brattwag Trommekorps in 2009. Gulli tours regularly with the Reykjavik Jazz quartet performing for school children for educational purposes.

MADONNA: Gulli was called to record with Madonna, Antonio Banderas & Jonathan Price in "Evita the Movie" in 1996 in London and later appeared with Madonna in Top of the Pops that same year with her own song "All by myself"

MUSICALS PERFORMED / RECORDED: Evita - "The movie" 3 tracks (UK), Jesus Christ Superstar(UK), Blood brothers (ICE), Whistle down the wind (UK), Carmen Negra.(ICE)

PERFORMED WITH, ICELANDIC, ENGLISH AND AMERICAN ARTISTS ON STAGE AND IN THE STUDIO, NAMES SUCH AS: Earth Affair, Mezzoforte, Philip Catharine, Madonna (in Evita, Movie) Mornington Lockett, Joe Hubbard, Tony Smith, Michael Ball, Jonn Savannah, British National Symphony Orchestra, Comedian Jim Davidson, Gunnar Thordarson, Mannakorn, Magnus Kjartansson, Bubbi Morthens, GCD, Bjorgvin Halldorsson.

Gulli has trusted Yamaha drums along most parts of his career.