Working together inspires new beats

A primal call went out Saturday morning at the Boogie Bar-N Stage and the audience responded.

Fast and furious: (above) Nikki Grant

A primal call went out Saturday morning at the Boogie Bar-N Stage and the audience responded.

They’d never met before, but beatboxer Felix Zenger and members of ApadooraÏ and L.A.’s Street Drum Corps wove the music of many cultures, calling across the ages, luring festival-goers to dance barefoot in the warm soil.

The haunting cry of the didgeridoo, an instrument born of a long-ago Aboriginal culture, melded with the sound of drums and voice.

Three of the most ancient of music-makers threaded together with flutes, pipes and guitar – Latin, Celtic, First Nations and more, a reminder of a world of music that unites us as a people.

From the didgeridoo comes more melody than thought possible, as do the seemingly impossible sounds Zenger produces with his mouth.

Add to that incredible drumming – on garbage cans, milk cans and an assortment of other items, including drums.

Like Five Alarm Funk who opened the previous night, the music of the Snap, Crackle and Pop workshop set a high-energy note to an already hot day.

Led by Drum Corps frontman Justin Imamura, these consummate artists feasted on each other’s energy, sharing the stage and their music, unselfishly granting each other space to reveal their own talents.

Zenger astonishes with his ability to use only his mouth to produce the sound of drums, scratches, bass, vocals and other effects.

Originally enrolled in the Helsinki Pop and Jazz Conservatory to study classical piano, the 24-year-old Finn received permission to change his major, and the rest, well, it is extraordinary.

One of a kind in a vast world of music, Zenger says he’s always been fascinated with what the body can do.

His compositions are original, with ideas coming from the music he hears as he travels the world performing.

“Beatboxing is about imitating,” he says, amazing sounds that appear on his new CD, Breaking Ground With New Sound.

Awed by the natural beauty of Salmon Arm, Zenger is hoping to be invited back to Roots and Blues and to find a Canadian distributor for his CD.

Young, hip, tattooed and downright nice, the three touring members of Street Drum Corps deliver the carnal, primeval, the tribal call of the drums.

High-energy performers, Imamura, Nikki Grant and Chris Pounders say theirs is the rhythm of mother nature – with an industrial edge.

Like the other two groups participating in the workshop, the Drum Corps plays only original music, with each of them getting their inspiration from different sources.

Sporting a bright pink Mohawk, Pounders finds his in emotions, seeking to bring the same energy to the drums.

Grant is moved by the sounds of life, from something as simple as the hum of a refrigerator to the complex sounds of the world around her.

Imamura, a committed Christian, looks to a spiritual source.

At home in Los Angeles, Street Drum Corps consists of 15 players, all committed to their highly entertaining music and performance.

“We’re kind of like a Shrek movie,” laughs Imamura. “We’re a kids show with adult content.”

Thrilled with the festival, the welcome and beautiful surroundings, the animated members of Quebec’s Apadooraï say they’d return in a heartbeat.

Dany Nicolas, Michel Dubeau, Julien Frechette and Sylvain Plante weave melodious folk and danceable vibes without electronic enhancement.

Nicolas, who plays mandolin, guitar, banjo and tabbouleh, does much of the group’s composing. The others listen to each new piece with headphones to find their own way into the composition, with Frechette making magic on the didgeridoo and Plante doing the same on drums.

“I bring wind and a melodic flow,” says a laughing Dubeau, who plays the pipes and several different flutes. “I bring tones and colour.”

Providing music of many cultures, including two of the members’ First Nations ancestry, Frechette says the group’s audience ranges in age from seven to 77.


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