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Music of Monday, 17 December 2007


You can’t stop his beat

For Kofi Kari Kari playing the drums and percussion has been a passion since childhood. “When I was a kid, I used to play with my knife and fork at the dining table at meal times,” said the 32-year-old British musician. “I would tap on the table creating beats, rhythms and melodies.”

Mr Kari Kari’s home was constantly filled with music. In the songs and music that played over the radio and stereo, it was the drum beats that caught his ear.

On 14 March 2008, he will be showing off his talent at a concert organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat to commemorate Commonwealth Week.

His band - The Kofi Percussion Discussion - will play an assortment of drums from across the Commonwealth at ComCelebrate!, which will be held at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London. The band will demonstrate its skills by performing original compositions.

“We are looking forward to ComCelebrate! as we enjoy performing and doing concert tours. Through our music and songs, we try to break down the borders between politics, religion and society so that we are able to share a common ground in a common language - that is music,” said Mr Kari Kari.

He has previously played with Tom Jones, Chris de Burgh, Phil Collins, Michael Bolton, Chaka Khan, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Westlife, Julio Iglesias, East 17, Vanessa Mae, Soul II Soul and Jamiroquai.

“Drums have the rhythm and beat that you can move to,” he explained, while playing a set of drums to underscore his words. “Our bodies move to rhythm, like our heartbeat, our pulse. I was drawn to drumming because it created a sense of excitement in me and a feeling of joy. I would dance to the beat of the drums. It made me feel so alive.”

Mr Kari Kari, whose family originally came from Ghana, pointed out that in centuries past, drums served as an instrument for communication between villages.

“Drums were used in festivals to celebrate the harvest season, to celebrate births, marriages and even funerals,” he added. “Drums have played an important role in many cultures and civilisations.”

His fascination for drums has led him to accumulate more than 100 of these instruments from around the world. He has drums from Brazil, Egypt, The Gambia, Ghana, India, Japan, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates, and he is still adding more to his collection.