Saturday, May 01, 2010

Homage to Bonzo and Queen of the Bands

The HSU Percussion Ensemble pays tribute to a Hawaiian war god and a god of rock drumming, and two smaller percussion groups play ragtime, Mexican, West African and Brazilian tunes. Then the HSU Calypso Band takes over with its high-energy Caribbean and African dance music. This often-anticipated annual spring concert takes the Van Duzer Theatre stage on Saturday night, May 1.

An ode to rock drumming, especially of Led Zeppelin’s John “Bonzo” Bonham, highlights the HSU Percussion Ensemble set. “The core theme is taken from two Led Zeppelin tunes,” said Percussion Ensemble director Howard Kaufman, “but there are also references to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Bo Diddley.”

“Bonham” is by Christopher Rouse, who also composed the Ensemble’s second featured work, “Ku-Ka-llimoku.” Kaufman describes it as “a savage, propulsive war dance,” in honor of the Hawaiian god Ku.

The Ensemble also plays “Head Talk” by Mark Ford and “Alone and Together,” a piece by HSU Music professor Eugene Novotney, inspired by tap dancing and East Indian music.

Then the HSU Marimba Band performs two ragtime pieces, as well as folkloric music of Mexico. The HSU World Percussion Group ends the concert’s first half with traditional Mandeng Drumming of West Africa, and a Brazilian samba, which features 45 drummers, singers and dancers.

The famed Humboldt State Calypso Band takes over for the second half of the evening, featuring the classic composition by Ray Holman, “Queen of the Bands,” and other dance tunes with rhythms from the Caribbean and Africa. This event is a now traditional pre-finals fling for HSU students, and the Calypso band’s only Van Duzer appearance until winter.

The annual spring performance by the Humboldt Calypso Band and HSU percussion groups happens on Saturday May 1 at 8 pm in the Van Duzer Theatre Theatre on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. First 50 HSU students free with ID.

Media: Arcata Eye, North Coast Journal, Humboldt State Now, Humboldt Beacon

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