Magic. They do magic.
Not in the sense of hey presto bunny goes poof magic, but the awe-inspiring wizardry of human skill – the kind that can only be achieved by hard work, an insane amount of practice and from pushing the body and mind to the limit.
The Hands Percussion team is one of the more well known groups in the local arts scene, and they regularly run fundraisers to support themselves as well as various causes, in addition to conducting classes at schools and academies. Founded in 1997, the troupe’s specialty lies in their mastery of various percussive instruments – often incorporating those from various Asian cultures – coupled with creative choreography and clever use of the stage to deliver unforgettable shows.
I had two tickets from work to go watch their UNITY: Fundraising concert at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre recently, and it was definitely a show to be remembered.
It was my first time at DPAC, which is located within Empire Damansara. They have facilities such as a proscenium theatre, a black box, an experimental theatre, an indoor-theatre foyer and several dance studios located within. Not to mention a very Instagrammable cafe, White Sand.
Photos were not allowed inside the auditorium, so I’ve taken the liberty of including some official photos from past events – to give you a sense of how the setup / stage is like. The 90-minute session saw HANDS performing some of their classic pieces, including JU4 JI2, Legacy of Passion, Rhythm Ride, and Drumbeat Inferno.
It was amazing to see the raw energy and power emanating from the performers with each stroke and beat, their muscles rippling as they drummed, jumped and somersaulted their way across the stage (yes, somersaults and backflips were involved). Of course, it wasn’t just drums throughout the entire show, as there were also gamelan sections, vocals by guest artists Zamzuriah Zahari and Evelyn Toh, as well as music accompaniment with instruments such as the guitar, cello erhu, ruan, flute, sanxian and viola – truly East meets West. The vocal sections were actually some of my favourites, especially the songs by Evelyn Toh and how well her singing went with the variety of instruments – the beat and the composition was an exquisite blend, literal music to the ears.
Another piece had the performers whirling like dervishes, their costumes billowing around them. The effect was mesmerising, to say the least. Throughout the performance, there were short breaks in between where audience members were shown videos of the group’s history, past performances and their 20+ year journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hands Percussion – their passion for their craft is amazing, and I wish more Malaysians would be able to appreciate and support what they’re doing. I mean, if you can pay RM50 for a movie and popcorn, you can pay that amount to watch an arts performance. Because if we as a people don’t appreciate our own culture and heritage, who will?
Follow Hands Percussion on Facebook to stay updated on their shows.
**Photos not watermarked courtesy of Hands Percussion, taken by Claes Chong