Drummers are often considered to be an underappreciated bunch within the world of musicians with frivolous lightbulb jokes being thrown around and many believing their work could well be replaced with a basic studio machine. But where would Led Zeppelin have been without John Bonham? Or The Beatles without Ringo Starr? One only needs to consider the works of a few greats to realise that technology fails tremendously in mirroring the work of a gifted percussionist.
In celebrating the work of drummers, the Kaleidoscope festival boasts a history of inviting local and international musicians from countries around the world including Taiwan, Japan, Spain, Norway, and Vietnam to be a part of an immersive rhythmic experience for all those present. This year, Kaleidoscope festival is back and will be taking place from the 2nd to 5th of August at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac). The event is the fifth of its kind and aims to introduce audiences of all backgrounds to the punchy hypnotizing world of drumming.
Kaleidoscope is an effort by HANDS; a Malaysian percussion group formed in 1997 by Bernard Goh. They are best known for their contemporary theatrical drumming which infuses a unique spin on traditional Malaysian music. They now have several productions under their name and remain the only professional and self-funded percussion group in Malaysia.
“Kaleidoscope has the potential to become a world-class platform for uniting people through strong work ethics, cultural acceptance and integration, and inspiring work”. – Bernard Goh, founder of HANDS Percussion
The title and theme for this year’s festival is UNBEATABLE, which is a reference to the energy and passion of musicians who take on the struggles that come with the starving artist way of living.
The festival serves as an exploration into the world different genres of percussion. Audiences will quickly realise that the world of drumming is a vast one, with each culture bringing their own style and rhythm to what they do. Rare do these cultures get the chance to cross, which is the precise exchange of sounds UNBEATABLE hopes to achieve.
Expect to witness percussion of all genres including the raging and thunderous beats of dhol drumming; performed by members of the Malaysian Dhol Alliance, rhythmic dorya drumming; performed by Abbos Kosimov of Uzbekistan and the traditional and culturally rich sounds of Malay percussion; performed by Kelantan’s Mat Din
UNBEATABLE will be host to a series of joint performances by several local and international musicians who have captivated audiences on stages across the world. The main piece is composed by Yuan Leow Yunn, who is known for her diverse and flexible musical abilities and involvement in over 70 individual projects.
Audiences may also enjoy Tan Su Yin, a solo performing artist who made her debut marimba performance in Japan in 2009 and has shared the stage with several acclaimed conductors and artists. Another local favourite is Prakash Kandasamy, a gifted tabla player who was conferred the title of Tokoh Seni Negeri by the Penang State government in 2003 and has won several other international awards by prestigious institutions.
Among the international artists performing will be Ben Walsh, a widely renowned drummer who’s been touring professionally since the age of 18 and is considered to be one of Australia’s most accomplished performers. Joining him will also be Majd Hass, a musician from Syria who’s been living in Malaysia for about a year and South Korean company, U-Hee, who will be bringing the crowd a creative and interactive Korean percussion performance.
And if attending a large-scale drumming festival has got you wanting to get in on some of the action, you’d be glad to know that a large part of the festival is dedicated to workshops and masterclasses conducted by some of the performers you’ll see onstage.
U-Hee will be conducting a samulnori workshop focusing on janggu percussion and the dynamic Korean mask dance. There will also be a workshop on Dhol percussion, conducted by the Dhol Alliance which will focus on both the instrument’s playing skills and historical significance. Abbos Kosimov will also be carrying out a special masterclass guiding audiences on the inner workings of traditional Uzbek and Tajik rhythms. There is even a kids percussion workshop, conducted by Ben Walsh, which will be open for kids aged eight to twelve.
A student concert, 243018, will also be held at the end of the year at Istana Budaya.
UNBEATABLE proves to be successful in its aim of introducing audiences to the diverse world of drumming. Consider giving the festival a visit and rock out to the immersive and enrapturing beats of acclaimed performers across the globe.
UNBEATABLE will be held from the 2nd to 5th of August 2018 at:
Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), Jalan Strachan, Off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 51100, Kuala Lumpur
For more information on the festival, click here!
You can also keep up with all of HANDS Percussion’s future events by following them on Facebook.
Featured Image Source: Claes Chong