Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Drummers beat out world record in Tainan

By Adam Ulfers  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER IN TAINAN

A total of 1,899 drummers set a new world record at the Taiwan International Drum Festival in Tainan yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Thousands of percussion enthusiasts and representatives from the Guinness Book of Records yesterday witnessed Taiwan's latest record -- the world's largest drum ensemble.

A total of 1,899 drummers, playing 1,951 drums, streamed onto the playing field of the Tainan municipal stadium to perform Eighteen Arahat (十八羅漢鼓), an original composition arranged by event organizer Ken Hsieh (謝十).

Most of the participants in the event, entitled "Ten Thousand Drums Thunder," were students from various percussion companies around the country, including members of the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group.

The record was declared official following the half-hour performance and the signatures of Tainan Vice Mayor Shiu Yang-ming (許陽明), City Council Speaker Huang Yu-wen (黃郁文), Chiou Yang-sheng (邱揚勝), representative of a local law firm, and Guinness World Records' regional chairman, Steve Day (戴勝益).

"It is my job to oversee these efforts and I find it extremely exciting to be among the best in the world," Dai said.

The previous record was set in Japan in 1988 with an ensemble consisting of 1,850 performers on 1,845 drums.

A number of energetic performances by entertainers from Japan, Korea and Taiwan were prelude to the event. "Ten Thousand Drums Thunder" began with a solo drummer and a slow heralding rhythm, only to explode into a percussive tidal wave the likes of which the world has never seen.

The Ten Drum Art Percussion performance group was featured on the main stage and delivered an especially emotional act prior to and following the main event -- testament to director-composer Hsieh's talent and leadership.

"I'm very happy with how things went today. Not only is the record a good thing, an effort that has taken a year of preparation, but we are trying to promote drumming as an activity for everyone. It is good exercise and helps to discipline body and mind," Hsieh said.

The world-record show was part of the three-week Taiwan In-ternational Drum Music Festival, presented by Ten Drums Art Percussion. One more week of events will follow in Tainan at the "Drums Sound On, All Hearts Set Free" extravaganza, featuring six elite international groups, two of which will perform nightly at Tainan's Eternal Castle (億載金城).

The last world record set in Taiwan was the 32-minute, 14,603-person synchronized taichi performance on Nov. 23 last year at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

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