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Stanford University hosts Drum Beats of Asia, as part of the Third Annual Pan-Asian Music Festival Feb. 17-24. Festival programs present a unique opportunity to see world-class percussionists on stage, performing and discussing their work. Artists Zakir Hussain (tabla), Kenny Endo (taiko), Anandan Sivamani (drums), Kya-Kyaw Naing (pat waing Burmese Drum Circle), and Jin Hi Kim (Korean komungo) will participate. Other drummers featured are Vincent Delgado, Anthony Brown, Chan E. Park, and Abbos Kosimov. The festival’s roster of percussionists from Asia attests to festival founder Professor Jindong Cai’s desire to help audiences understand other cultures through their art. Cai, Music Director, Stanford Symphony Orchestra, hopes that this year’s festival will contribute to a better understanding of the music and people of Asia. From Indian tabla to Japanese taiko drumming, Korean komungo (a fourth-century fretted board), to pat waing (drum circle from Myanmar), and other percussion instruments, every Asian country will be showcasing its percussionistic heritage and legacy.
I caught up wtih the versatile drummer Sivamani in Cape Town, South Africa after he finished an exhilirating jamming session with African drummers, where he played the balophone. “When I was in my mother’s womb, her heartbeat was my first lesson in rhythm. My father, S.M. Anandan was a musician in the Tamil film industry, and he always inspired me when I was young.” Sivamani plays with tremendous energy, connecting with the audience as he plays, taking them through Latin American, African, jazz, and Indian rhythms while moving between several percussion instruments in the space of a couple of hours. True to his reputation for spontaneity on stage, my question regarding preparations for his upcoming concert here, drew the following response. “I have not planned anything at all. I draw my energy from the audience. The magic has to happen along with everyone present.” Sivamani currently tours with his band, Asia Electric, which features Louis Banks, jazz musician, and Neeladari Kumar on the sitar. “An opportunity to play at an esteemed institution such as Stanford University is something that I am looking forward to. Also, the concert date of Feb. 18 is my parents’ wedding anniversary, and the rhythms that I create on stage will be an affirmation of my love for them.” A chance to watch Sivamani play with special verve on his favorite instrument, the drumset, should be a concert not to miss. In addition to performances, lectures, pre-performance and post-performance discussions have been planned to help audiences learn more about percussion traditions from different parts of Asia. The Festival line-up of performances and lectures by world- class percussionists offers Bay Area residents many opportunities to expand a musical aesthetic defined all too often by narrow national boundaries. Nirupama Vaidhyanathan Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m. Zakir Hussain and Friends. Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. $20, $10 students. Sunday, Feb. 18, 2:30 p.m. Sivamani, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. $15, $5 students. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 12 p.m. “Drums of Burma” lecture by Kyaw Kyaw Naing; 1:30 p.m. Composers’ roundtable; 7 p.m. Professor Chan E. Park on “Traditional Korean Music and Storytelling today” and Zakir Hussain on “India’s percussion traditions.” Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford University. Wednesday, Feb. 21, 5 p.m. Thai Drum and Dance Ensemble, with pre-performance introduction by Prof. Pamela Moro. Free; 8 p.m. East-West Drum Fusion, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. $10, $5 students. Thursday, Feb. 22, 6:45 p.m. Pre-performance lecture by Prof. Pamela Moro on “Music of Thailand: Court, Temple, and Regional Traditions”; 8 p.m. Drum and Dance Ensemble, Thailand College of Dramatic Arts. Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. $15, $5 students. Friday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. Kenny Endo and Stanford Taiko. Post-performance discussion featuring Kenny Endo, Prof. E. Takeo Kudo, Prof. Steven Sano on “Taiko: Tradition and Innovation.” Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. Sold out show. Saturday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. Thunder from Asia—The Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Asian Drums. Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. $10, $5 students. (650) 725-ARTS (2787). http:// Directions:

Nirupama V.

Nirupama Vaidhyanathan is a writer, dancer and choreographer. She was the former editor of India Currents magazine.