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Lucas Niggli - drums/percussion

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Lucas Niggli Drum Quartet: Beat Bag Bohemia - Exploring a World of Rhythm07.04.2008 / Durban Daily
Lucas Niggli Drum Quartet: Beat Bag Bohemia
Exploring a World of Rhythm

Beat Bag Bohemia is a brilliant collaboration and affirms the value of cultural cross pollination and the fundamental need to explore differences and similarities in a positive expressive milieu. The live concert was an inspiration and encouragement to the creative soul – a gift.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music hosted an excellent concert featuring drum quartet Beat Bag Bohemia last week. Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia chose to tour the group, a percussive collaboration between Swiss drummers Lucas Niggli and Peter Zunthor and Southern African beat masters Kesivan Naidoo and Rolando Lamussene, to mark their ten-year mile stone in South Africa.

Led by power house Niggli, who is also the composer of almost all the pieces, the four drummers exhibit a kind of wild-child-genius-at-play interactive creativity made possible by technical expertise on their instruments of choice and Niggli leads by example – with passion and utter commitment to the moment. Revealing elements of African inspiration, each piece performed offers a well developed theme that contains a specific approach so that the listener is always intrigued.

With their full kits, cymbal towers, water gongs, seedpods, nuts, bags stuffed with sticks and an endless variety of jingly toys these drummer boys give rhythm its due. Lyrical and enchanting at times, Beat Bag Bohemia’s repertoire leaves no rhythmic stone unturned and when they are all at full throttle the sound they produce is clear and awesome and the reins still tightly and expertly held.
Lamussene provides distinctly African tribal percussive sounds with the djembe and mbira, as well as a range of natural percussive instruments. His composition Big Bertha, which is sung to a delicate mbira accompaniment, gives the ear a chance to refresh and recuperate. Niggli, Zunthor and Naidoo sit at their kits slapping, tickling, thumping, scraping, tinging, jangling, ticking, bashing and rolling, their eyes aflame with eagerness and delight, and their physical dexterity a ballet of beauty, holding the house enthralled with their collective talents.

Beat Bag Bohemia also performed at the eKhaya Multi Art Centre where a largely youthful audience screeched and howled their approval, leaping to their feet to applaud particularly impressive runs and sitting mesmerised as they witnessed the universe of rhythmic creativity laid before them.

I listened to the quartet’s album, also entitled Beat Bag Bohemia and was thrilled to hear that the work gained in translation. With precise and intelligent mixing and mastering by Willy Strehler at Studio Klangdach Gunterhausen in Switzerland the recordings are evocative and energetic and show case the intensity and immensity of the pieces without compromise.
Beat Bag Bohemia is a brilliant collaboration and affirms the value of cultural cross pollination and the fundamental need to explore differences and similarities in a positive expressive milieu. The live concert was an inspiration and encouragement to the creative soul – a gift.

Gisele Turner

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