Percussion Videos

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A percussion ensemble is a musical ensemble consisting of only percussion instruments. Although the term can be used to describe any such group, it commonly refers to groups of classically-trained percussionists performing primarily classical music.

stomp

Stomp

Stomp is a rhythmic, musical extravaganza that has stunned audiences across the globe. If you weren't lucky enough to catch them in your hometown (or you did and you crave more), now there's Stomp Out Loud, a special HBO performance that will bring the unusual musical feats right into your living room. You might just find yourself grabbing a broom or even your remote control to keep time. "It's comedy, it's theater, it's very physical, it's energetic, it's occasionally quite terrifying," says one performer. Taking their show from the theater to the streets, this astonishing troupe can make music out of just about anything and just about anywhere. The opening sequence shows them dangling by harnesses across the back of a Manhattan billboard drumming on hubcaps, pipes, street signs, and plastic garbage pails, all the while swaying and keeping in perfect time. You know how you like to groove along to the radio while driving? Stomp doesn't need a radio--they use their hands to make their own music while cruising the streets of New York. Using just basketballs in a steamy alleyway, the troop creates an incredibly intricate dance and sound with the street, brick walls, and Dumpsters. Included in the program are the push broom, garbage can, and pole dances, just a few of their best-known sequences. Stomp Out Loud showcases the performers in the theater, out about town, and in short humorous vignettes (love the recurring card game!). All in all, they amaze. This well-produced video also includes a trailer and a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stomp Out Loud. --Dana Van Nest

blast

Blast

If your favorite part of a football game is when the marching band takes the field, then you're going to love Blast. Think of the most rousing, in-sync band that you ever saw, turn them way up, add cool costumes and a black-and-white checkered stage with colored spotlights, throw in a good helping of the Stomp vibe, and you've got Blast.

Color is the theme that threads the different musical pieces together. Beginning with Ravel's Bolero, the audience is pulled into this new music/dance/theatre experience as the band takes the stage marching, twirling, and weaving. The performers aren't simply musicians--they dance, sing, act, and play their brass and drums. "Loss," in the Blue section of the color wheel, is particularly touching. Even the flag team--a very sexy and talented flag team--is represented. The Green section melds into a sober and lovely rendition of "Simple Gifts," then concludes quietly with Copland's Appalachian Spring. In the black light of "Battery Battle," you're pulled into the rhythm of the lone drummer, then dueling snare drums, and finally a row of energetic, blindfolded drummers who never miss a beat. "Medea" combines movement and music in a dramatic interpretation of Samuel Barber's piece, and, set to a dance-club beat, "Lemon Techno" is a flurry of yellow flags, poles, and sensuous movement. A spectacularly sultry "Malaguena" drenched in red ends the program.

It's easy to see why Blast is a PBS favorite. It's an amazing new type of performance--one that every high school marching band member will want to emulate. Included here is a 25-minute documentary, Music in Motion: The Making of Blast, which takes you behind the scenes to the conception of the show and into the ensemble's homes and lives as they perform in London's West End. --Dana Van Nest

hand percussion

An Introducation to Hand Percussion