Watching a Hands Percussion performance is an experience that engages all the senses, not merely the aural. Your being is immersed as waves of sound ripple through your body and transport you away. It’s enough to release a flood of endorphins, giving you a most wonderful high.
The Hands troupe has been rolling out the beats since 1997 and has become famous for its ground-breaking and innovative performances. True pioneers in the world of percussion, the boundaries are always pushed that one step further and the audience is often brought face to face with experimental theatre at its finest.
Comprising seven full-time performers and 21 part-timers (with 12 trainees), the crew has performed extensively in international music festivals, won a plethora of awards as well as organised concerts and festivals of its own. A highlight is Kaleidoscope – the Hands Drumming Festival 2009, where various drumming troupes from around the country joined talents for a drumming tour de force.
Now in celebration of its 15th anniversary, the crew is putting together its second drumming festival and this time round, talents from around the world have been invited to show off their skill to Malaysia. Making the journey to KL will be performers from Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. Add in traditional Malay musician Kamrul Hussin into the mix and you’re really in for a treat.
Hands is also heavily involved in the education sphere, currently coaching no less than 26 schools and having fostered more than 8,000 students over the years. Unique drumming camps have been erected as an extension and most recently, the Balik Kampung project was established.
These projects saw the Hands crew visit villages and hold workshops for less privileged kids who don’t have the opportunity to enjoy and experience the performing arts.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, the crew went on to organise a series of fund raising performances for Japan after the sequence of disasters that crippled the country last year. All funds went straight towards the cause. Giving back to the community is as much a part of their philosophy as blending sound patterns or creating visually stunning sets.
Watching a group of artists who are as passionate about their field as the HANDS crews are, is an inspiring and humbling experience. For them drumming is a way of life and not just a profession. You can tell that when you watch, hear and celebrate with them.
Kaleidoscope II – HANDS Drumming Festival 2012
When: 8-11 March
Where: KLPac, Sentul Park