Shillong fest to attempt record-breaking drum ensemble

By Syed Zarir Hussain, Indo-Asian News Service | Thursday, August 31, 2006 | 10:26:44 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Shillong, Aug 31 (IANS) A band of 5,000 drummers in India's northeast is set to perform a record-breaking beat session in October to top the current Guinness Book of World Records drum circle of 4,374 percussionists.

Shillong, Aug 31 (IANS) A band of 5,000 drummers in India's northeast is set to perform a record-breaking beat session in October to top the current Guinness Book of World Records drum circle of 4,374 percussionists.

The proposed world's largest drum ensemble, titled Positive Vibrations, is scheduled to be the opening item at a weeklong Autumn Festival beginning Oct 28 in Shillong, capital of the northeastern Meghalaya state.

'From schoolchildren to professionals, we are mobilising drummers from across the northeast and we are expecting representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records to witness this historic event,' Meghalaya Tourism Minister R.G. Lyngdoh told IANS.

A local percussionist would conduct the record-breaking session that was expected to last for about 10 minutes at an open stadium in Shillong.

'Drums of all shapes and sizes would be used in the concert with the drummers playing a synchronised tune specially composed for the show,' the minister said. The participants would do rehearsals at least a week ahead of the big event.

'Through this beat session called Positive Vibrations we would like the world to change its perception towards the northeast. The northeast is not just all about insurgency and negative things, we, too, are capable of thinking positive and doing good things,' Lyngdoh said.

India's northeast is known to the outside world as a land of rugged beauty and constant turmoil with ethnic conflicts and a myriad of insurgencies claiming an estimated 50,000 lives since the country attained Independence in 1947.

'We would welcome drummers from anywhere in India to participate in the event,' the minister said.

The drum ensemble apart, the Autumn Festival would have events like water sports, kite flying, fishing, besides jugglers and entertainers from New Zealand to entertain the crowd.

'This would be a gala carnival and we expect people from both India and abroad to take part in the festivities,' Lyngdoh said.

The 2004 Global Festival for Peace with conductor Mickey Hart officially holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the 'Largest Drum Ensemble' consisting of 4,374 participants.

Hart, a Grammy award winner for the World Music Album, roped in stellar percussionists like Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussain, Karl Perazzo, and Bill Kreutzmann for the record-breaking rhythmic convergence at California.

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