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Lively percussion

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Swarm energizes with primal movement, unusual drums

Who: Swarm 

When: Performance Aug. 9, 7 p.m.; Workshop Aug. 10

Where: Millennium Place

Can’t get those feet to quit tapping?

Spend the night with Swarm, the funky futuristic percussion group at Millennium Place theatre tonight.

Based around the Japanese drum tradition known as takeido, the members of Swarm calls themselves "an alternative percussion group."

Their artistic vision explores "the never-ending possibilities of merging music and movement with a myriad of creative structures."

And what makes them so funky?

They spin, jump, and dance as they perform, a choreography of primal movements.

The artists are also offering a learning seminar on Saturday, Aug. 10. A one hour workshop for teens starts at 10 a.m., and a children's workshop starts at 11:30 a.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Swarm gears their workshop to action drumming and exploration of rhythm patterns. The goal is to inspire interest in the arts, and expose young people to alternate modes of composing music.

And in these eco-sustainable times, their drums pass the mark.

Recycled materials form the basis for all of the drums in the show, a lively act which promises syncopated staccato and other aural delights.

Drums are usually formed by stretching skin over the ends of a cylindrical frame or hollow hemisphere. Sound is produced by striking the surface.

Swarm uses drum shells that include crushed metal barrels, carved PVC sewer pipes and other recycled materials.

Stands are ornate, made from pieces of scrap metal that allow the drums to tilt at any angle, and move about on wheels.

The Vancouver-based troupe’s credits include Vancouver’s Pride Festival 2002, B.C. Festival of the Arts 2002, and shows at T. Wallace Studios of Vancouver since 1999.

Never conventional, Swarm was filmed by Jeremiah Productions as a post-apocalyptic band in the Jeremiah TV series for the 2001 season.

Swarm members include founder Bill Wallace (MFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and set designer for A Clockwork Orange from the Steppenwolf Theatre), and Winnipeg-born Curtis Mathewson (music theorist and composer for Swarm, jazz musician for Black Cavendish). Daniel Lunn (a performer transplanted from Ottawa), Lauren Weisler (who studied art therapy in Vancouver and is also a photographer and woodworker) and Sacha Levin (clarinet, sex, and bass player who studied music in Ghana) round out the performers. Harold Harrd, who plays the Glass Slipper Club with trio GWH, is audio-visual technician for the band.

Wallace and Mathewson write all music compositions for the show.

Tickets for the Friday performance are $18 for adults, $15 for teens. For more information contact Millennium Place at 604-935-8410.

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