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August 30, 2014, 12:21 pm

‘Skins & Songs’ the music of humanity

Throughout the ages, mankind has intrinsically used the drum (or skins) and voice (songs) to communicate cultural significance and to express the heartbeat and spirit of a people.

Coupled together, drums and vocals possess the ability to represent humanity authentically as an organic whole. One can only contemplate the compositional possibilities, imagine the new musical horizons which are about to be discovered for the first time with Skins & Songs.

This week’s Philadelphia Music Project brings together two large ensembles — Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Philip Hamilton’s Voices — and over 33 music traditions from around the globe to deliver a ground-breaking body of compositions and arrangements live on stage.

Since 1996, Spoken Hand has championed the natural unification of four distinct music culture tradition: North Indian tabla, Brazilian samba, West African djembe and Afro-Cuban batá to present an unprecedented sound to the modern world of music.

Co-directed by Philly legendary drummers Daryl Burgee and Lenny Seidman, the natural interplay among the four drumming traditions illuminates the authenticity of the group’s unique sound.

“The focus of the ensemble is to honor both the secular and sacred elements of each drumming tradition for its uniqueness and to unify these traditions with fresh vision and composition,” explained Seidman. “The core of the process lies in the innovative arrangements and orchestrations linking and merging the different batteries.”

Led by Hamilton, Voices is an a cappella performance ensemble of eight accomplished vocalists from around the world and an array of international vocal tones and techniques.

Tuvan throat singing, Congolese mouth-clicking, Balinese monkey chant and hip-hop’s beat boxing are accompanied by the rich sounds of diverse a cappella singing styles including doo-wop, Bulgarian choirs, barbershop quartets, work songs and South African miners’ songs as well as Gregorian chants. Compared to productions like Stomp, Bring in da Noise and Def Poetry Jam, which showcase the urbanization of the world and combine the contemporary with the traditional, Voices celebrates the versatility and diversity of a common human instrument, the voice, while bringing cultures together.

The Painted Bride Art Center presents “Skins & Songs: Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra meets Philip Hamilton’s Voices,” a world premiere concert engagement taking place May 10 – 13.

Single tickets to each performance are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of show. Students and seniors with ID receive a 25 percent discount.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets, call (215) 925-9914 or visit The Bride is located at 230 Vine St. on the northern edge of Old City, Philadelphia.


Contact staff writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .