Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE

Hands in Ipoh

It was a mesmerising evening as Hands Percussion, a Malaysian percussion ensemble, put on a solid 120-minute performance at the National Department for Culture and Arts auditorium on Saturday, April 15. Among those present were the Executive Councillor for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Multimedia and Communications, Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi and Tourism Perak Chief Executive Officer, Zuraida Md Taib.

The synchronised lighting, special stage effects, amazing choreography, and most important of all, the rhythmic drum beats, sent the audience’s hearts racing as they sat in their seats and watched with rapt attention, not wanting to miss a single moment of what seemed to be a never before seen and a one of a kind performance.

The event kick-started with a performance by the 24 Festive Drums group of Hua Lian High School in Taiping, which is under the tutelage of Hands Percussion. This was followed by the Hands Percussion Group. Their compositions included ‘Rhythm Ride’, ‘Owned’, ‘Bare Hand Drums’ and ‘In the Name of Celebration’.

Hands Percussion was established 20 years ago in 1997, with the 24 Festive Drums as their main focus. Twenty years on, apart from the drums, the ensemble incorporates the gamelan, djembe, kompang, gendang, timpani and marimba in its repertoire.

Hands Percussion has travelled far and wide, bringing its enchanting rhythms to people near and far, and often collaborating with local and foreign artists. Currently, they have nine full-time performers, 11 part-timers and 10 trainees.

Despite being an internationally-renowned ensemble, it is only now that Hands Percussion is embarking on a nationwide tour. Ipoh was fortunate to be one of the stops. The group performed in Johor and Penang in April and will be on stage in Kuantan on May 6.

Artistic Director of Hands Percussion, Bernard Goh, hopes to showcase the uniqueness of Malaysians and their culture in his repertoire and compositions.

When asked why it was only after 20 years that Hands Percussion was embarking on a nationwide tour, Goh replied, “We haven’t received local invitations, but it’s always my desire to embark on a tour in Malaysia. And I think it’s never too late to do so.”

“I totally loved the show. It was just awesome!” exclaimed Nolee.

Nolee hoped that the performance would help towards building an arts and culture hub in Ipoh.

Leanne Tan

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