The Big Percussion Concert 1

Jim Chapman

Synergy crafted a seamless integration of their eclectic influences and the masterful performance of Hossam Ramzy on doumbek and Omar Faruk Tekbelik on ney and zurna. Faruk added even more colour to the mix with his beautiful instrumental and vocal improvisations. The ensemble played an array of percussion instruments from the western orchestra as well as djembes, bongos and bells. The djembe has become such a standard instrument for modern western groups that it is almost due for absorption into the orchestra.

After a break, Senegalese master drummer Aly N’Diaye Rose and his musical brothers, son, and cousins walked onto the stage one by one. The first began with a sweet boogaraboo solo. He was gradually joined by 7 others who added saba drums, dunduns and djembes to the sound. The contrast with the previous performers was fascinating. Where the music of Synergy was moody and mesmerising, Aly’s family were extroverted and where Taikoz was full of intensity and discipline, the Senegalese were relaxed. Moving dynamically from the subtle patter of the boogaraboos to the rumble of the dunduns and then to the cracking explosion of the djembes, the musicians laughed and joked with the audience—sometimes stopping to mug or pose, sometimes ripping out a masterful line of tones and slaps. A feature was made of the tama, the talking drum and there was lots of great stick work on djembes and saba.

The poise of Synergy, the melismatic trances of the Ramzys, the intensity and discipline of Taikoz and the breezy relaxation of Aly N’Diaye Rose tantalised and energised the audience. At the end of the marathon 3 and a half hours people were either screaming and dancing in the front of the stage or flat on their backs from fatigue. Both exhausted and energised the City hall auditorium emptied into the cool night with rhythm on their minds.

The Big Percussion Concert 1, Brisbane City Hall, July 19

RealTime issue #58 Dec-Jan 2003 pg. 42

© Jim Chapman; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 December 2003
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