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Thursday, 19 May 2011 14:15

World Renowned Amadinda Percussion Group brings a unique show to Fort Macleod

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Submitted by Vicki Arndt
Fort Macleod
Tin cans, conch shells, electric buzzers and plastic tubes are just a few of the non-traditional instruments world renowned Amadinda Percussion Group will play during the Fort Macleod International Festival.

The four member percussion group from Hungary who have been together for 25 years, will perform at the the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, the Grand Theatre in Calgary and Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump during the sixth annual chamber music festival.

“Anyone with any interest in percussion would certainly take a lot away from this performance,” says Brent Hutchinson, Empress Theatre executive director. “In fact, even those who are just looking for a show that will ‘wow’ them will enjoy this.”

Amadinda originally formed in Budapest to perform classical percussion music for the Hungarian audience. They premiereed, on national and international stages, new compositions written by Hungarian composers. Recently, Amadinda evolved to include traditional percussion music from Tahiti, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Bali and Tonga, and to research other traditional percussion cultures and compose new pieces and transcribe traditional non-percussion pieces to percussion.

The result is a stage performance and diverse repertoire that is not only mystifying, but captivating and exciting. Amadinda uses traditional percussion instruments, such as the bass drum, timpani, cymbals, and marimba, as well as more unusual instruments, such as an old television, brake drums, cow bells and train whistle, giving Amadinda the reputation of being one of the world’s most original and diverse percussion groups currently on tour.

“This performance at the Empress is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Hutchinson. “The caliber of music performed by Amadinda is something seen on the top stages around the world, and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity to see them here at the Empress.”

The group is formed by Zoltán Rácz, Zoltán Váczi, Aurél Holl, and Mátyás Szabó, and they will perform during three of the six festival concerts.

Sunday, May 29 at the Empress Theatre, Amadinda will perform José - beFORe JOHN5 written by Amadinda member Aurél Holló, Mbira, traditional Zimbabwe music and Otea, traditional Tahitian music.

The final performance by Amadinda will be at Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump in Fort Macleod, Monday, May 30, where they will perform Forever and Sunsmell by John Cage. For a special treat, the group will also present an improvisational piece for percussion and voice. The members will also perform as part of the larger ensemble Nahdoosi, composed by England’s own Benjamin Ellin who wrote the highly lauded Siksika for the 2010 festival. This will be the second performance of this piece during the festival after it received its world premiere at the Grand Theatre in Calgary on Friday, May 27.

“Nahdoosi takes inspiration directly from the Blackfoot culture,” says Ellin. “This piece has the addition of a mezzo soprano and two percussionists.”

“The words that the mezzo sings are written by me following various articles and books that I read about Blackfoot life and stories from their culture, mythical and traditional,” says Ellin.     

Order tickets online at: or phone 1-800-540-9229 or 403-553-4404. Single tickets for each concert are $30/ $12 for students. It’s $10/$5 for students, and children aged 6 and under get in for free.

There is a Dinner Ticket: Flavours of Italy at Fort Macleod’s Luigi’s Restaurant for $30. Wine may be sampled at $5/glass.

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