Get Handsy with
Many of us have probably heard of Hands Percussion but little do we know about the man behind it all – Bernard Goh. Born and raised in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, he is driven solely by his passion for the arts. Bernard Goh is the founder and Artistic Director of HANDS Percussion. He holds a Diploma in Graphic Design from the Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA). He was also an instructor of a multi-award winning school Brass Band for 6 years and it was there where it all began – his passion for percussion. Bernard then learnt shigu drumming from Mr. Tan Fui Choong, the founder of 24 Festive Drumming, a drumming technique unique to Malaysia. Currently, he is the Chairman of The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia’s (Hua Zong) 24 Festive Chinese Drums’ Development Department.
Bernard started out his drumming experience when he was still in school. He used to play the trumpet in his schooling days but he said, “I always hang out with the percussionists of the band because I always thought they were very cool.”
“I still paint, I still draw, but my canvas is now the stage.”
After Form 5, when Bernard left school, his peers told him that they still want to continue drumming. “So I went to talk to the principle to negotiate a deal with him. He told me that we can still come back and practice but on one condition – no coloured hair and no piercings,” laughed Bernard.
Hence the birth of Hands Percussion. We asked him – why Hands Percussion? He said, “We do everything ourselves; from the costumes, to the flyers, the booklet, and of course, the composing and performing; and all of those require hands, our hands. So we gave it a to-the-point and minimalistic name – Hands Percussion.”
“You cannot call yourself a professional if you don’t spend enough time doing what you do.”
Hands Percussion will be celebrating their 20th anniversary next year. “Right now, we have a few programmes that we are most proud of, two of which are Balik Kampung and Embracing the Arts Hand in Hand with Hands.” Balik Kampung is an educational programme that reaches out to various schools in the village areas. “The first school that we taught was in Sekinchan. I used to be a teacher there before I became a graphic designer, so I decided to go back there and teach drumming. We travelled with 14 cars packed with drums.” He added, “As forEmbracing the Arts Hand in Hand with Hands, we got the idea when we travelled to Europe. Not only did the organizers give us a stage to perform, they also brought us to perform at orphanages, old folks homes, and hospitals. Reason being is because not everybody can come out to watch the show, so we go to them. That was a brilliant idea, and we wanted to replicate that concept as an outreach programme.”
Hands Percussion not only performs for them, but they also bring them down to KL for a day trip to museums, gallery, Petrosains, aquaria KLCC, and others. This upcoming concert is for that purpose. The ticket sales will be to sponsor the children down to KL for the next big event.
‘Inspiring 1000’ is an idea concocted by our love to share music with everybody. At the performance, we have 16 performers from our side, 4 guest artistes, and 1 singer. “Performing with a guest artiste bring our performers to a new level because of working with foreign talent and to get a new insight of the sound of the songs.” They will be performing a very wide variety of songs. Some songs composed last year, some songs composed 10 years ago but revamped with a different twist to it; be it introducing new instruments, or rhythm changes.
Below are the details of the event:
Date: 17 – 18 May 2016
Venue: Pentas 1, klpac
*Photo credits: Ban Teng Ruen