June 2, 2015

Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra is returning to Painted Bride Art Center and will premiere several brand new pieces of music THIS WEEKEND—Saturday, June 6th at 8pm and Sunday, June 7th at 6pm.

Featuring the Philadelphia region’s most skilled and renowned hand drummers, Spoken Hand represents batteries from four singular music cultures: tabla (North Indian), samba drums (Brazilian), djembe (West African), and batá (Afro-Cuban). Over the past 19 years, they have fused these drumming traditions into passionate and impactful sound grounded in both traditional and contemporary drumming practices.

Spoken Hand was started in 1996 when Painted Bride Art Center commissioned Lenny Seidman and Daryl Kwasi Burgee to investigate the symphonic orchestra qualities inherent in a drumming-only orchestra. Since then, the ensemble has shared the stage with the likes of tabla master Zakir Hussain, hip hop dance legend Rennie Harris, and kora master Yacouba Sissoko. Most recently, Spoken Hand teamed up with Philip Hamilton’s Voices to record “Skins and Songs,” a dynamic evening length work designed to live at the intersection of drumming and acapella vocals.

On June 6th and 7th, however, the ensemble is going back to basics at the Bride—no special guests, no collaborators—just the drummers and several compositions so new, they have yet to be given titles. These mysterious pieces, like all of Spoken Hand’s work, will blur the musical lines between the four cultures they represent and make audiences from every walk of life stand up and dance.

Next year, Spoken Hand will turn 20 years old. According to Lenny Seidman, the collective shows no signs of slowing down. “We have a strong desire to continue pushing the envelope,” he says. “You have to keep creating to keep evolving.”

Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra plays Painted Bride Art Center on June 6th at 8pm and June 7th at 6pm. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.