Slap That Ass

Upon finding delight in the corporeal world, most infants express it by slapping, clapping, stomping, thumping, and vocalizing. This same combination has been cultivated and refined in every culture around the world. Yet, there has never been an international gathering of body musicians. This year, Keith Terry — co-founder of the Jazz Tap Ensemble and longtime sound effects artist for the Pickle Family Circus — received the Guggenheim Fellow award for body music, not only for his uncanny ability to transform his personal mass into an orchestra, but also for his ability to draw artists together for the First International Body Music Festival. Eager students of gumboot, hambone, and kecak can attend workshops during the day, then line up for concerts at night. The devastating range and beauty of the human mechanism is illustrated by Barbatuques, a 12-person ensemble from São Paolo, who conspire with Terry’s Oakland-based Slammin’ All-Body Band to create something between beatbox and maracatu. Original Hambone Kid Sam McGrier and his postmodern progeny Derique McGee strut the purely American tradition, which developed rapid slaps to replace forbidden slaves’ drums. Gamelan Sekar Jaya and Gamelan X employ the Balinese kecak, a divinely inspired chant associated with the monkey god Hanuman, while Turkish duo KeKeÇa transforms traditional songs into delicate body pieces worthy of Rumi.
Sun., Dec. 7, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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