Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drums Of China Come To Socorro

By Rebecca Rose

In Mandarin, Jigu means "to beat or touch the drum”.  This Saturday those words will come alive as Jigu! Thunder Drums of China takes the stage at the Macey Center. Part of Tech’s ongoing Performing Arts Series, the world famous troupe of drummers, percussionist, musicians bring their world famous performance to Socorro for a night of music and dancing.  
Jigu! Thunder Drums of China is celebration of Chinese music and culture, combining traditional and modern elements to highlight ancient drumming techniques. 
The performers are from various villages in the Chinese province of Shanxi, where traditional drumming has a long and storied history.  Cynthia Dike-Hughes is the Vice President and COO of IAI Presentations, Inc., and co-producer of the Jigu! Thunder Drums of China show.  “Shanxi is the birthplace of the Chinese drumming tradition, dating back to 700 BC.” said Hughes  “Many of the performers come from a long line of drumming families.  It’s a tradition passed down from generation to generation that we are thrilled to share”
This is the fourth time the group has toured North America since 2007. “The performers enjoy sharing their ancient art form with people everywhere.  Their favorite part of coming to North America is seeing so much of America, which they have read about and heard about over the years.”  Hughes said it’s not just the culture and scenery of America they enjoy so much.  “They also love sweet treats.  Candy, cookies, cakes – they love it all.  Sweets are not as common in China as they are here in the West, so having so many sweets is a real treat for them that they are enjoying very much.” 
As a stage performance, Hughes promises the show features more than just drums. “It’s so diverse and ecclectic. There’s different vignettes,” said Hughes. “Each one celebrates the beauty and nature of China and more.”
 One of the prominent elements featured in the performance is the Yellow River, which runs through Shanxi province.  “The Shanxi is the ‘bread basket’ of China, many things such as corn, rice, wheat come from there.  Many of the vignettes tell stories about this river, and nature. ‘The Boatmen of the Yellow River’ tells the story of workers bringing goods down the river.”
One of the vignettes features musicians emulating the sound of wind blowing and nuts falling and rolling on top of the peasants’ homes, a celebration of the nuts that are grown in the Shanxi province.
Hughes said this type of aural artistry is what audience should expect from the show. “It’s not just ‘drums’.  The Chinese drumming tradition is very musical.  People will be impressed how the performers illicit music from drums.  It’s touching, it’s moving, but some parts are very humorous.” she said.
Jigu takes the stage at the Macey Center on Wednesday, November 3rd at 7:30pm.  Tickets for the show are $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $14 for youths 17 and under; with a $2 discount if purchased by 5:00pm on the 3rd. Admission is free to New Mexico Tech students enrolled in at least 6 hours and showing a valid ID.
Tickets are available at the door or in advance at NM Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Western Wear, Sofia’s Kitchen/Burrito Tyme or at the door. For more details, visit

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