Sunday, 28 December 2014

Drum Gaia Rehearsals, Marina Bay Countdown to 2015

Hello everyone! With 2014 about to end, I'm back with another lead-up event regarding the Marina Bay Countdown (: 

As mentioned in my previous post, there was one event which I mentioned regarding Drum Gaia. Drum Gaia consists of a group of 400 drummers coming from various drum communities and enthusiasts who have gathered together to showcase a spectacular performance this 31st Dec. I'm glad to be able to catch one of Drum Gaia's rehearsals which was held a couple of weekends back. 

I was also able to have a short interview with Riduan Zalani who is one of the composers of the score for the fireworks display and in charge of the Drum Gaia segment (: 

Riduan has started learning traditional Malay drums at the age of 7 and then he moved on to percussion drums and undertook a diploma in music at Laselle College of the Arts. He's really proud that he is from Singapore as he travels a lot around the globe for music. The name "Drum Gaia"came really naturally and consists of an arsenal of drums from all around the world; there are even drummers from the SCDF where they drum on fire extinguishers to create music! 

Here are some close-up photos of the drums that were used at the rehearsal; it's fascinating how all these different percussion instruments from various cultural backgrounds come together to create music and rhythm. 

When asked on how he incorporated the drumming element in this year's fireworks music (since it is the first time live drumming has been included), he answered saying that it would start off with very loud drumming for the first 45 seconds, followed by choreographic drumming to music and the fireworks would then be triggered with drumming. It is also rare to find drumming in sync with a fireworks installation, so this Drum Gaia is definitely one event to look out for! He spent a lot of time with the leaders of the various drumming communities who have come together to create cohesiveness of the drums too (: 

His inspiration was to create that harmony between all of the different drums and to invoke a sense of nostalgia in the piece to represent various phases of Singapore. 

A snapshot of Riduan in action; leading the drummers 

Next, I asked about what are some of the challenges faced when coordinating hundreds of drummers. And he mentioned that there were not much major difficulties except for the coordination of schedules. But some of the things that had to be considered were: (1) that each type of drum is different, (2) some drummers are professionals whereas some were novices.

He is really touched and encouraged by the enthusiasm to learn by the drummers who all come from different backgrounds and ages. Many of them have forged friendships among each other and showed great energy during rehearsals! It's like how they are different people who've come together because they share the same vision and love for drumming and they can't wait for the next performance and to see how Drum Gaia can grow to even 1000 drummers in future. 

I've never been very musically-inclined although I really do enjoy singing, but you could really feel the passion in him when during the interview when he spoke about his love for drumming and music. I ended off my interview by asking Riduan what would be his wish for Singapore in the New Year. He hopes that all of us would learn to appreciate more about the simpler things in life, love Singapore as we have always have despite all of the changes that are happening and to constantly think of how it was like before in the past. 

I've also managed to catch the media preview (new post coming up!!) for the countdown where they created a simulation of the fireworks display, and it is absolutely amazing because the music, drumming and fireworks display are really all in sync together!!!

They'll start drumming from 6pm onwards on the 31st of Dec (more details here) so do head on down if you'll like to catch them earlier and you'll also be able to try the drums out if you're lucky! 

It's definitely something to look forward to for the countdown (:

Thanks for reading! (:
Love, Jo 

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