In sync: One of the teams taking part in 24 Festive Drums Competition two years ago. This year's contest starts today at the Educity Indoor Stadium.
JOHOR BARU: They may be from different cultures and different parts of the world but their love for the Johor-born art of 24 Festive Drums has brought them all the way to the country to perform at a competition.
American Al Saloha, 35, from Oklahoma State University in the United States, fell in love with the art instantly after being impressed with a performance by the university’s Malaysian Students Society during a cultural night seven years ago.
Born to Palestinian parents, the Management Science Information System Masters student said what he loved most about the Chinese-style drumming technique, which was founded in Johor more than two decades ago, was the mixture of body movement and drum beats.
“The performance was so powerful and energetic. I had never seen anything like that before, so I decided to approach them to learn although I had no musical background,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.
Saloha is part of the nine-member team representing the United States at the third International 24 Festive Drums Competition, which will be held at the Educity Indoor Stadium, Nusajaya, here today.
His teammate Cecely Jones, 22, said she grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, so she was not exposed to different cultures and picking up Chinese drumming was a new experience for her.
For Robyn Borland and Daniel Wrigglesworth, both 21, from the University of Liverpool, the 24 Festive Drums was definitely different from the modern drum set that they used to play.
Each 24 Festive Drums troupe is traditionally made up of a set of 24 Chinese drums to represent the 24 solar terms in ancient China’s agricultural calendar.
Limited tickets for the international competition are still available at RM40 and RM60. For more information, call 07-2788-999.