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Another Return to ACTION! January 15, 2008

Posted by Kalwant Ajimal FRSA in Uncategorized.
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Following the successful launch of Drumbeat, a policy review has been completed. Success is one thing, keeping the production going is another. It must have quality and character!

 As a result, new collaborations have been agreed.  Drumbeat-Heartbeat started as a production of Asian Arts Access and was then launched under the auspices of Mirador, a sister company.

 Following the review, Drumbeat is to be developed as a joint venture with DrumJam, run by Somesh and Shivani de Swardt. Please see www.drumjam.com

Another development!  Drumbeat will also work alongside other production possibilities…. I have been interested in the study and use of masks for a very long time. The mask has the twin role of helping a person to acquire an identity or to lose one.  Masks are used at major cultural events where there is music and dance. That is where Drumbeat comes in. A new festival to be known as ‘Masks with Meaning’ is under preparation.

 Research colleagues have identified 45 masks for use. Each mask tells a different story and reflects exciting opportunities for interpretation and enjoyment.

Watch this space!

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A long silence but many outcomes! December 4, 2006

Posted by Kalwant Ajimal FRSA in Uncategorized.
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Drumbeat-Heartbeat is launched in London

Drumbeat, An International Festival of Percussion became a reality at London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s MOLTEN Festival, last month.  Mirador Culture worked with Drum Jam and The Sounds of Africa to provide a unique offering to hundreds of guests who came to the exciting Festival throughout the day.

Drumbeat’s defining characteristics were brought into existence – it was not the case of the boring old linear display of skills and talent where one group follows the previous one as predictably as night follows day! There was no standard compositions ‘to adhere to’ and so no one had to perform to a preset piece. The term ‘fusion’ is favoured by many musicians when they refer to a collaboration. What is often not clear whether the fusion is the input or the end result! Where a fusion is seen as a merger or assimilation, there is a predictable loss of identity. One musical form merges into another and becomes fused.

That does not sound too great an outcome if all that happens is that something disappears! We like the term musical dialogues, a shared and hopefully balanced dialogue where musicians and percussionists of quality ‘talk’ to each other via their music.  There is a focus on innovation and exchange. There is respect for each others output or musical point of view. The end result is aggregation and not replacement. What do you think? Many musicians will say that this is nothing new. They ‘improvise’ all the time, suggesting that they respond to what they hear and try to make sense of other performer’s output. Does improvisation not sound too much like trying to upstage the other or even survive on the stage?  The South Asians, mainly Indians and Pakistanis have a term – jugalbandi. This mode of playing music suggests a more ‘harmonious’ relationship, a respectful exchange of musical output where both sides try to add value.

Whatever your preference in terms of the language, where people try to listen to other people’s work and try to respond to it with respect, good music is bound to follow.  Drumbeat hopes to engender respect for other cultures and offer a platform for creative exchange that adds value without destroying the identity of other participants‘ work.

If you like this sense of shared adventure then Drumbeat-Heartbeat is your opportunity to influence and be influenced.

Newham Steel Band joins Drumbeat July 14, 2006

Posted by Kalwant Ajimal FRSA in Uncategorized.
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Following discussions with Felix Joseph, the founder of Forest Gate Steelband, I am pleased to confirm that Felix Joseph and his team have decided to join the Drumbeat programme.

The band has been renamed. It is now known as the Newham Steel Band. The band has over 50 members of which 20-25 are active at any time depending on the work programme.

The addition of a steel band adds new dimensions for Drumbeat. This group is also welcome because it is the first group from Newham to join us.

Other groups are being approached at all times.

Summary of Artistic Objectives June 12, 2006

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Objectives

 Drumbeat’s artistic policy has three main objectives: 

  • To celebrate the recognition of cultural unity, in order to better celebrate cultural diversity.
  • To create local distinctiveness by working in different areas, using local resources.
  • To promote the development of links with combined arts, education and community engagement.

Invitation to New Partners June 12, 2006

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Issues and challenges

Mirador and its partners are committed to the promotion and advocacy of the development of percussion and its practice. Other key challenges include: 

  • The programme aims to facilitate a critical debate on percussion.  
  • It aims to provide reports, reviews and analysis of existing provision and emerging work which reflects good practice, the success of regional and national percussion networks and partnerships. 
  • The Festival and its associated programmes advocates investment in collaboration and participation in existing projects as the main vehicle for articulating some of its the aims and objectives. However, Heartbeat – Drumbeat also offers new insights and breaks new ground in conjunction with percussion specialists.  
  • Percussion is a vibrant tool for the development of combined arts, the creation of  new cross-art form events and to promote and create awareness of the combined arts of communities represented in the country.
  • Developing new approaches to communication for networking and programming will remain a central feature of Heartbeat – Drumbeat. 
  • We will also invest in new collaborations aimed at generating cross-cultural projects in percussion  
  • We will also feature newly funded projects and programmes based on support from Lottery funds, local authority budgets, private sponsorship and percussion groups’ own investment 
  • The aim of percussion development is to look across artificial geographical and musical boundaries. We are aiming to launch the first project as a collaboration led by Mirador, Drum Jam and Chakardar but over a period of time to attract partners from the Arts Council’s various regions including the South East of England, East region, London and East Midlands. These are areas where Heartbeat – Drumbeat has well developed links.  
  • Mirador are putting together a new application for funding based on both organisations’ extensive track-record and experience. These organisations complement each other and their skills and expertise will bring various initiatives into focus. 
  • Journeys with percussion provides interesting news and developments. There will be coverage of artistic policy development in various organisations, the strategic development of a key artform, awards and funding announcements. 
  • Information and exchange on education, training and development should help to enrich the agenda for skill-sharing and learning.  

Regular Features

  •  Heartbeat – Drumbeat is a new Festival, and to offer a dedicated programme of workshops, seminars and conferences covering some of the issues highlighted above and other targeted workshops to develop access and enjoyment of percussion.  
  • Critical issues affecting cross-cultural percussion development and programming, surveys trend, research and development, reviews, new publications, books will also be of interest. 
  • Heartbeat – Drumbeat hopes to create employment and training opportunities and should be able to offer appointments, mentoring and work experience.

Welcome to Drumbeat Festival – London 2012 June 12, 2006

Posted by Kalwant Ajimal FRSA in Uncategorized.
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1. Do you want to share our common dream for London 2012?

I envisage a percussion festival of such massive proportions, outstanding high quality and a unprecendented musical vibrancy that the programmers of artistic events for the London Olympics should be calling us and saying,

” Will you perform for the audiences at the Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies in 2012?”

At that stage I would like to talk with you and other partners, collaborators and working groups that are being set up as of NOW and respond,” Yes, we will perform for your audiences, but it is for the world and not just London!” 

They will be setting us free! Our discipline, hard work and creative diversity will have produced a series of monumental dance sequences and musical repertoires that will have given us the power through shared ownership of work that is starting now.

If you share this dream then you will also know that good percussion and dance events are created by ambitious visionaries with a single common aim – how to enthral the audiences, leave them so spectacularly moved that they are exceptionally enriched by our musical and dance creations, that our drums will be playing the language of the heartbeat, the first and the original percussion known to us all.

Just as any successful performance starts with slow, modest and uncharted musical renderings, this festival will also commence with people who are coming together to share a common aim but have no predetermined mental road maps. Our musical journeys will be our shared enjoyment until we discover our inner talents and potential for excellence through Heartbeat. We will then create and bind a new experience. Our energy and investment will be constrained, if not defined, by just two forces – trust and respect for our creative backgrounds. If you are still reading this then consider yourself a recruit, a partner, a mentor and listener who will make others ‘listen’ with delight when we play our music in 2012.

Heartbeat is being developed as a local festival for Barking and Newham before it can run and be counted as an international festival of percussion for the Olympics! This web-log is one of the many means for communicating this dream.

Introduction to Drumbeat June 12, 2006

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Welcome to this members’ blog for Drumbeat. Its is aimed at people specifically involved in the proposed Festival: Mirador, its partners, future partners, funders, promoters and sponsors.