Wind of Nomads: Where Africa and Asia meet, HANDS Percussion transcends continents
FOR their 20th Anniversary, HANDS Percussion is bringing a moving musical performance to Istana Budaya, and this time they’re collaborating with DAFRA DRUM (USA, Burkina Faso) in a project called Wind of Nomads. A marriage of Asian and African sounds; Wind of Nomads will tantalize your senses starting from the 4th of August. If you’re worried about missing out, don’t worry; the production will last for two weekends! (4-6, 11-13 Aug 2017)
HANDS Percussion is a severely underrated ensemble, striking up great percussive energy with the fervour to experiment. Bernard Goh, founder and artistic director, has an amazing track record of wonderful, eclectic productions such as Opium, a multi-platform and multi-genre performance art. He continues this trend of fusion and experimentation in Wind of Nomads, whilst highlighting the tradition of the cultures he adopts. “I’ve always believed in spreading the drum culture to as many people as possible”, said Bernard. He does this beyond simply putting performances together, but also through community outreach. One of which is his work for Candlelight Project which aims to highlight the plight of 33,000 refugees. The aim is to help these children better their future through the benefits of music, drumming and group participation. It also exposes the public to the drumming culture as well, by giving away tickets in exchange for donations made to the organization.
Olivier Tarpaga, on the other hand – as a founder and director from DAFRA DRUM hailing from Burkina Faso and living in the United States – is the Yin to Bernard’s Yang, . An exuberant and eloquent figure, Olivier tells the story of how Wind of Nomads came about. “He [Bernard] is a very busy man. He would approach me for a project, and then I would express my interest to the project and then he wouldn’t reply for a LONG time”, he laughs. “But eventually we met face-to-face, because when I agree to do something, it has to be face-to-face”. Bernard reflects the diligence and persistence required behind this endeavour though, having to juggle other projects while maintaining contact with the necessary to people to make it work.
Olivier talks about his admiration for HANDS Percussion and Bernard’s work. “It has been a positive challenge for me working with them. And I’m not just saying this because Bernard is sitting next to me *laughs*, but I believe we have created something beautiful – complete with the animations, and the choreography”.
As a final leg in the 3-year project between DAFRA DRUM and HANDS Percussion, Wind of Nomads will be a full-length concert focusing on Asian and African percussion. Even from the short preview, you could see the intriguing yet coherent combination between both influences. “It will be a spectacular and grand show. I think this will be the first time the marimba and the kora will be played in the same performance”, said Oliver in reference to the creative risks they took. “Music and dance is like cooking food, and I feel it is about completing each other instead of competing with each other”.
As for the title of the production, the significance lies in the nomadic nature of both Bernard and Olivier. Both of them are travelers, whether in their approach to music or their physical origins. Olivier, for example, though originating from Burkina Faso, lives in the United States. “The word ‘nomads’ is about ourselves. Even in the history of Burkina Faso, the people were originally from Ghana. The ‘Wind’ is related to that, the fact that we are all nomads in our own way”.
One of the more amazing things about Wind of Nomads is that the production only consists of 15 people in a team, yet what they are doing is a grand staging of intercontinental resplendence. Bernard’s focus has always been to leave the audience with an experience they’ll never forget – and with an ambitious production this like, it will surely be a memorable one.
Buy tickets for Wind of Nomads at the Istana Budaya page. Link here!
Another way of getting the ticket is by donating to the Candlelight Project. Candlelight is a community project by HANDS Percussion Malaysia to highlight the plight of an estimated 33,000 refugee children in Malaysia. It aims to help these children impact their future through the benefits of music, drumming and group participation.
Donation of RM500 gets you two VIP tickets to ‘Wind of Nomads’ (4-6, 11-13 Aug 2017) or ‘Percussion Paradise’ (29-30 Sept, 1 Oct 2017) and 5 tickets for the refugees to watch Wind of Nomads. Send proof of banking-in through Whatsapp (012-7798009) or email
Featured Image: Ban Teng Ruen