Hands Percussion Overview

 

          Hands Percussion (HANDS), a renowned Malaysian percussion ensemble, has been creating a veritable bang in the music scene in Kuala Lumpur since 1997 with its ground breaking and innovative performances. The ensemble’s performances has been highly regarded and admired as they endeavour to preserve their cultural heritage while introducing new dimensions to theatrical drumming by venturing into contemporary percussion music and exploring different cultures. The team has produced and performed extensively in the arts scene as well as at corporate events.

         
          Today, HANDS has eight (8) full time performers, eighteen (18) part-time performers and twelve (12) trainee performers.
The performers have been divided into two (2) performing groups – the original core members, HANDS 1; and HANDS 2 formed in 2005. HANDS Gamelan Group was formed in 2007 when a custom made gamelan set was acquired.

               In the past few years, HANDS has been invited to perform overseas and have participated in the following international
art festivals:
• Bangkok, Thailand in January 2004 - Thailand International Drum Competition
• Hong Kong in November 2004 - Hong Kong final Miss Cosmos Contest
• Singapore in May 2005 - Singapore Arts Festival
• Shanghai, China in October 2005 - China-Shanghai International Arts Festival
• Warffum, Netherlands in July 2006 - 41st International Folklore Festival
• Putten, Netherlands in July 2006 - International Folklore Festival
• Schoten, Belgium in July 2006 - 48th World Festival of Folklore
• Zeeland-Sas Van Gent, Netherlands in July 2006 - 32nd International Folklore Festival
• Doha, Qatar in December 2006 - Doha Asian Games Cultural Show
• Taipei, Taiwan in November 2007 - World Culture Showcase World Music Festival on Drum and Dance
• Adelaide, Australia in May 2008 – 16th ASSITEJ World Congress & Performing Arts Festival for Young People
• Kavala, Greece in July 2008 – Cosmopolis International Festival
• Vlasti, Greece in July 2008 - Earth Music Festival
• Hsin Kang, Taiwan in November 2008 – Hsin Kang International Community Arts Festival
• The Esplanade, Singapore in January/February 2009 – HUAYI Chinese Festival of Arts

• In July/August 2009, HANDS performed at six (6) festivals in France:
     1. International Folk Festival of Martigues (20-29 July)
     2. Festival of Castres (31 July-1 Aug)
     3. International Folk Festival of Amelie les Bains (2-8 Aug)
     4. Confolens International Folklore Festival (10-16 Aug)
     5. International Folk Festival of Cugand (18-23 Aug)
     6. International Folkloriada Competition in Dijon (25-30 Aug)

At Dijon, HANDS received a trophy. They were not part of the International Folkloriada Competition as they were invited as
‘special guest performers’ for the opening. The panel of judges liked their performance so much that they decided to give them
a special award, which is a first in the sixty (60) years of this festival’s existence! And it happened on 31 August 2009,
our National Day!

• Hanoi, Bandung and Ho Chi Minh City in March/April 2010 – Cracking Bamboo Festival
• Taipei in June 2010 – Xin Zhuang International Drum Festival
• Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia in July 2010 – World Gamelan Festival
• Adelaide, Australia in September 2010 – Oz Asia Festival  
• Hawaii in September 2010 – East West Centre 50th Anniversary Celebrations
• Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in November 2010 - Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Olympic Complex  

               2010 was an exciting year for HANDS on the awards front. On 16 April, they picked up the Performing Arts Award for Music and the overall Grand Award (Anugerah Utama Bakat Muda Selangor) at MBPJ’s Selangor Young Talents’ Awards.Two days later, on 18 April 2010, they picked up 3 awards at the 8th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards for Best Group Performance (Instrumental) – ‘GENG’ by Hands Gamelan Group in ‘Kaleidoscope – Hands Drumming Festival 2009' ,  Best Production Values and Best Music Direction by Bernard Goh for ‘Dreams In November’.

 

               In between the overseas trips, HANDS found time to be part of the World Vision 30hr Famine Countdown Charity Concert in August 2010, and in October 2010, the KLCC Seni Festival where they performed with the MPO in Joining Hands with the MPO. And in December 2010, HANDS 2 had their very own concert, RhapsoDrums.

• Taipei, Taiwan in August 2011 – Kee-Lung Festival
• Kinmen, Taiwan in August 2011 – Kinmen Peace Arts Festival
• Nanning, China in October 2011 – Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival

Apart from performing overseas, HANDS strives to promote its unique artform at home by holding their own showcases.
These include:
• ‘When Percussion Meets’ (2001)
• ‘Ritual of Drums’ (2002)

• ‘Dialogue in Skin’ (2004) – nominated for Best Group Performance, Best Original Composition, Best Production Value, and
Best Musical Direction in the 3rd BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

• ‘Drum Slices’ (2006) – won three (3) awards at the 5th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards for Best Group Performance, Best Production Value and Best Original Composition.

• ‘Drum Slices 2’ (2007)
• ‘Chaos in Unison’ (2007)
• ‘10: Entwined Calling’ (2007)

• ‘Drum Slices 3 – Rhythm Ride’ (2008) – won Best Production Value at the 7th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards

• ‘Kaleidoscope - HANDS Drumming Festival’(2009) – won Best Group Performance (Instrumental) – ‘GENG’ by Hands Gamelan Group at the 8th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards

• ‘Dreams in November’ (2009) – won Best Production Values, and Best Musical Direction for Bernard Goh at the 8th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

• ‘RhapsoDrums’ featuring HANDS 2 ( Dec 2010)
• ‘Souls in Love’ a mini opera in collaboration with Duo Fatale (March 2011)

• ‘Ri Yue Chu Yin’ HANDS first gamelan concert with special guests, world class percussion group from Beijing, The Eight Mallets
Percussion (June 2011) – won the Kakiseni Audience Choice Awards for Music at the 9th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards

• ‘Knocking…’ featuring HANDS 1 (August 2011) won 4 out of their 5 nominations at the 9th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards:
1. Best Group Performance (Instrumental): ’Shadows of Gemini’ musical direction by Cross Chin
2. Best Solo Performance (Instrumental): Jimmy Ch’ng
3. Best Original Composition: Jimmy Ch’ng for ‘Striking Gold’, musical direction by Jimmy Ch’ng
4. Best Musical Direction: Bernard Goh

• ‘KALEIDOSCOPE II - HANDS Drumming Festival’ (March 2012)

 

 

               Not forgetting the importance of education, HANDS is currently coaching in 25 schools and has nurtured more than 8000 students since inception. Their ages range between 5 – 20 years, from kindergarten children to university students.

1. Chong Hwa Independent High School, Kuala Lumpur.
2. Tsun Jin High School, Kuala Lumpur.
3. Confucius High School, Kuala Lumpur.
4. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Yu Hua, Kajang.
5. Pin Hwa High School, Klang.
6. Cempaka International High School, Kuala Lumpur.
7. Chung Hua High School, Seremban.
8. SRJK (C) Choong Wen, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
9. SJK (C) Serdang Baru 1, Selangor
10. SRJK (C) Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
11. SRJK (C) Chee Wen, Kuala Lumpur.
12. SRJK (C) Lick Hung, Subang.
13. SRJK (C) Yu Hua, Kajang.
14. SRJK (C) Salak South, Kuala Lumpur.
15. SRJK (C) Ijok, Selangor.
16. SRJK (C) Chung Kwok, Kuala Lumpur.
17. SRJK (C) Chung Hua, Klang.
18. SRJK (C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama.
19. Deafbeat YMCA
20. Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Bintang Utara
21. Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Chen Moh, Petaling Jaya
22. Kuen Cheng High School, Kuala Lumpur
23. SJK (C) Batu 14, Hulu Langat
24. SJK (C) Kuala Kemaman
25. 25.   SJK (C) Pui Gin, Sandakan
26. Yu Yuan Secondary School, Sandakan

Previous coaching assignments were also at:
• Tadika Lai Meng, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
• SRJK (C) Chiao Nan, Kuala Lumpur
• SRJK (C) Naam Kheung, Kuala Lumpur
• University Putra Malaysia
• Sekolah Menangah Tanjung Sepat
• Tadika Pandan Indah, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur

 

               Children’s drumming camps have also been organised to hone creativity and provide a platform for the children to learn,
interact and perform together. The first camp was in held in 2002 and the second one was in December 2008, at the
Chong Hwa Independent High School, Kuala Lumpur, where 120 children attended. If all goes well and time permitting, HANDS plans to hold such camps once every two (2) years. <Drum Slices 5> National Drumming Camp (20-24 Dec 2010) was held on schedule at the Cempaka International School. The next one will be at the end of 2012.

 

               The ‘Balik Kampung’ projects are an extension of the drumming camps where HANDS brings the 24 Festive Drumming culture to the kampung where the children there do not have the opportunity to enjoy and experience the performing arts. Hence, HANDS takes drumming to them at these workshops. And bring HANDS members back to the kampung, to simple village life and to be reminded as well as enjoy our cultural heritage.

               In December 2009, the first ‘Balik Kampung’ trip was to Sekinchan, in north Selangor. It was a one day workshop with
both secondary and primary school students. Besides drumming, HANDS also taught them to make their own instruments by recycling everyday objects like dustbin covers and bottles. Flags were drawn and coloured and at the end of the day, everyone from parents to children joined in a street parade with HANDS, playing the ‘instruments’ and anything else that would make a noise – it was a bit like STOMP!

               The second ‘Balik Kampung’ trip was to Sabah between 28 May-1 June 2010 where they covered 6 towns, from the west coast to the east coast - Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Tampruli, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan and Sandakan! It was the perfect time to visit the villages as it was Keamatan and they tasted traditional hospitality at its best! The children loved the drumming and their 3 main objectives were achieved:
•Interaction with the Kadazan-Dusun and Murut communities;
•Introducing drumming to them; and
•Learning more about each others’ culture

               HANDS third ‘Balik Kampung’ trip was in May 2011 to Boyz Chew’s (HANDS 1) hometown in Selama, Perak. The one day workshop attracted children and teachers from 5 different primary schools and there was a crowd of about 200! What a street parade it was! So far, a grand total of 9 such trips have been made, all a resounding success and the details are:  
4) 25 June 2011 - Pertang, Negeri Sembilan
5) 1 Oct 2011 - Batu Maung, Pulau Pinang
6) 7 Oct 2011 - Kuala Kemaman, Terengganu
7) 28 Oct 2011 - Pasir Parit, Kelantan
8) 9 Nov 2011 - Pulau Pangkor, Perak
9) 24 Nov 2011 - Kodiang, Kedah

April 2012 sees AMWAY Malaysia Sdn Bhd collaborating with HANDS with its third project under the company’s One By One Campaign, a community programme reaching out to children, called ‘Hands Pecussion Balik Kampung with Amway’! This will add another 5 kampungs to be covered.
10) 13 May 2012 - Bentong, Pahang

               Always mindful of their role in the community, HANDS on 30 January 2011 organised a workshop at House of Joy, a home for the underprivileged in Puchong and ended the day with a meal at Sek Me Choy. And when the tsunami struck on 11 March 2011, they together with Wadaiko Syo, Tugu Drum Circle & Dhol Federation organised concerts to help raise funds for Japan.

               HANDS is proud to be part of the Malaysian performing arts scene and in all their drumming endeavours will to strive to achieve world class international standards. They will always preserve their colourful Malaysian cultural heritage while incorporating contemporary percussion styles, and the diverse South-east Asian musical instruments available in this part of the world.