Spoken Hand is an internationally unique percussion orchestra composed of four drum batteries: the bata (Afro-Cuban), samba (Brazilian), tabla (Indian), and djembe (West African). Through their deep understanding of these cultures, the ensemble is able to synthesize the time-places of thousands of years of drum-building and music-making resulting in an eclectic and exciting concert presentation. Much like the interplay of high and low strings, brass and woodwinds in a symphonic orchestra, the melodic, harmonic and dynamic elements of Spoken Hand's batteries and their unique compositions and orchestrations, deliver a new standard for a world drumming orchestra.
The group has won two consecutive "Best World Music/Roots Performance" awards from the Philadelphia City Paper, and has been nationally recognized for their 2002 collaboration, "Flammable Contents," featuring Spoken Hand tabla master Zakir Hussain, and hip-hop dance guru Rennie Harris.
Spoken Hand began in 1996, when local drumming leader Daryl Kwasi Burgee invited tabla player Lenny Seidman to join in the final ceremony of the 1996 AfricAmericas Festival at Philadelphia's African American Museum. Seidman brought with him a four man percussion battery, and the concept of Spoken Hand was born. The ensemble made their national debut in 1998, playing to a sold-out house at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Since then, Spoken Hand has established itself as one of the most unique and vibrant groups performing in the genre of world music.
Spoken Hand has appeared at nearly every Philadelphia venue of note, including the Painted Bride Art Center, The Mann Center for the Arts, and the Welcome America Festival, and has earned its national reputation through concerts and residencies at festivals, theaters, art centers, and universities around the country.
The group will be conducting two residency events on Thursday, December 9 prior to the evening performance. Members of Spoken Hand West African drum battery will perform a school program at Paxtang Elementary School in the Central Dauphin School District at 10am. The full group will present a free lecture/demonstration for high school and college students in the Rose Lehrman Arts Center theatre at 1pm.
Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra will present its full concert on the RLAC stage, HACC on Thursday, December 9 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25/adults and $20/students/senior citizens. Box Office phone is 231-ROSE (7673). RLAC season is on the web at the Website below.