Post Curtain Call:
Hands Percussion’s fundraising concert, “Inspiring 1000” started off with a single spotlight, filtering down over a Chinese drum and a beat that reverberated around the walls of Pentas 1, KLPAC. Soon, it was joined by the rhythmic thumps of other drums, the players in perfect harmony with each other. A promising start soon steadies into a show of musical skill, and right before your attention starts to wane it switches up to a different pace.
We are happy to report that the syncopation was executed beautifully. Kudos to the lighting designer, too, for bringing out the visuals to accompany the sounds, and costume design was elegant, though somewhat simple.
One moment that really stood out is when a fast but steady pace was taken from one extreme of volume to the other. A rising crescendo before a fall, a switch to a single drummer who ensures the beat shakes you at your core. Amazing.
Flexibility in the set of instruments was also planned cleverly; the performers not only showed off their musical prowess but their physical energy and talents for more than a single instrument. While the choreography was a stunning display of familiarity with the music and set, such physically taxing feats were perhaps a little too heavy during certain moments- slight faltering, a slip on a drum, a near-fall.
Throughout the repertoire, the gamelan, cello, guitar, timbales, and other trans-cultural instruments were added and taken away, keeping the audience alert as to the change of styles and rhythm. A range of emotion was noticeably portrayed through each piece, although how well that emotion was conveyed is a matter for interpretation. Personally, I felt awed during ‘Drumbeat Inferno’, a warmth during ‘In the Name of Celebration’, and a well of varied emotions during the ‘Chinese Oldies on Gamelan’. This is probably a suitable time to mention the guest artists were a good addition to the set.
All in all, Hands Percussion proved tonight why it’s such a great name in the performing arts industry. Such a complex approach to percussive music, plus the addition of other instruments and detailed choreography, was an apt repertoire for the fundraising cause.
*Photo credits: Ban Teng Ruen