Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Banging the drum for a record-breaking show

By Adam Ulfers  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Performer from Ten Drum Art Percussion.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TEN DRUM ART PERCUSSION

The 2004 Taiwan International Drum Music Festival organized by the Ten Drum Art Percussion group begins Sunday -- and it could be a record-breaking affair.

With percussion groups from Taiwan, the US, Japan, Korea and Turkey performing until Aug. 14, the event will climax with a world-record challenging event called "Ten Thousand Drums Thunder."

The first part of the tour has been called "Drum Up Mountains and Seas as an Expression of Love." It will involve 10 groups from Taiwan, the US, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, who will perform at seven scenic venues around the island in the first week.

The most intriguing and possibly historic segment of the festival will be the world-record challenging Ten Thousand Drums Thunder event, to be held Aug. 7 at Tainan Municipal Stadium. A hundred drumming companies, along with local students, will swell the number of performers to 4,000. They will gather at the stadium in front of an estimated 20,000 people for a two-hour percussive session, the likes of which the world has never seen. More than 1,150 Japanese drummers performed to set the previous drumming record, in 1988.

In the third week of the festival, six elite groups will combine for evening drumming showdowns at Tainan's Eternal Castle (億載金城).

The Ten Drum Art Percussion group that has organized the event was founded in March 2000 and while devoted to maintaining a traditional local drumming art, has performed over 400 times both locally and

internationally.

It will be performing around the island during the Tainan festival. The group will also play on Alishan in Chiayi County from 5am till 6am, and at Sun Moon Lake, Nantou County, on July 26 and July, 27 respectively.

Festival organizer and Ten Drum composer Ken Hsieh (謝十) said, "The songs are all composed with Taiwan's scenery, history and culture in mind. We have a song for Alishan, so we are very prepared for this performance."

A few groups to keep an eye out for are Korea's HATA team, the US' Azguno team, Japanese team IKKI and Turkish-bred team Izmir.

Boasting the "finest presentation of Korean traditional music and dance," the Korean Drum team HATA will join the ranks of international groups touring the country. The team is unique in that it can extemporaneously extend a five-minute song to 30 minutes.

Team Azguno, from the US, is an ensemble inspired by traditional African music and dance as well as by artistic styles found in South America. It aspires to bring audiences authentic performances that usually only occur in their original settings.

Japanese team IKKI is a progressive group that focuses on traditional Japanese performing arts, but does venture into different genres.

Izmir is a Turkish drum, dance and spoon-playing group, featuring the unique Turkish Harem drum. The group will visit Taiwan for the first time and is likely to impress with its energetic and patriotic show.

The three-week event will be an educational and culturally rich affair. Ideally, by Aug. 14, the festival will have received international recognition along with a highly anticipated world record for Taiwan.

"We have applied for the world record and they [Guinness World Records] are coming with their president to visit," Hsieh said.

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