This gamelan theatre performance marks another creative milestone for HANDS
Percussion (HANDS) in their efforts to honour and reinvent Malaysian traditional
music and art.
The production focuses on the concept of the shigu (Chinese lion drum) being in conversation with the Malay and Balinese gamelan – feeding off each other’s responses and having the ability to understand one another. After their debut gamelan concert, ‘Ri Yue Chu Yin’ in 2011 and classical twist, ‘Tchaikovsky on Gamelan’ in 2014, HANDS now takes its artistic progression further under the direction of one of Bali’s most gifted musicians, I Wayan Sudirana, and Malaysian actor, director and writer, Ghafir Akbar.
Taksu is also a tribute to the late Krishen Jit, Malaysian academician, historian, theatre activist, and writer. He first introduced gamelan theatre to HANDS in the 5 Arts Centre’s production, ‘Monkey Business’, in 2005 and inspired its Artistic Director, Bernard Goh, to take a risk with ‘Chaos in Unison’ in 2007, where for the first time the performers told stories and revealed their emotions in the performance. The theatre legend continues to have a profound impact on artists he had worked with. Taksu is proof of that. Proof of the possibilities of reinvention.
Taksu is a musical adaptation of literary work reflecting the ancient Balinese concept of the spirit of the arts that exists naturally in a person. It is a concept that exists beyond knowledge or experience – it surpasses technical prowess and cannot be quantified. The Balinese also believe that divine inspiration plays a part in it and it is that which motivates an artist to perform.
The production evokes elegance and drama, stirring up passion through Sudi’s artistically woven metallic sounds of the Malay and Balinese gamelan with the shigu’s wide varying range timbre sounds. Traditional sounds and dance of Kelantanese influence by Mat Din Hussin, and Zamzuriah Zahari, and the lush tones of Lim Wei Siong’s erhu, add richness and flavour to the performance as do the natural resonance of choral group, La Voce.
HANDS aim to inspire, demonstrate what the embodiment of this spirit means to them, their work and lives. Journey with them on this contemporary musical experience and help them and all of us make this world a better place through taksu.