When the 10 members of the Taiwanese ensemble, Ju Percussion Group (JPG) arrived at the Delhi International airport, carrying with them a baggage of over 5,000 kilos, they were met with a lot of curious looks and many inquisitive questions. “We are carrying around 500 instruments, so we had to sit down and explain that we are a multi-instrument percussion group,” says Pei Ching Wu, 41-year-old principal conductor of the group.
Formed in 1986, JPG has performed more than 2,300 concerts in 24 countries, with India being their 25th stopover. What makes them worth-a-watch is that over the last 25 years, the group has managed to keep their ingenuity intact, putting forth an experimentative show that combines dance and music with a lot of fun. “Our musicians play from the heart and that is reflected in the performance,” feels Wu.
After a jaw-dropping debut in the Capital recently, the pioneering percussion group comprising 10 boys and girls, played instruments ranging from the African marimba, the South American bongo and the Japanese taiko drums to belt out Bollywood hits. “We like to pick stuff from the country we are visiting. We’ve already picked up five sets of tablas here and we hope to incorporate it in our next gig. We were told that everyone here loves movie songs, so we researched and made up a list of popular songs to incorporate for our set,” says Wu, who composed a special medley for their Indian tour, Bollywood Suite.
At the concert tonight, Wu will be seen juggling six mallets as she hits the notes on her marimba. Her bandmates will use Chinese fans to beat the drums, playing the miramba using violin bows, and grooving to hip-hop steps, besides displaying other stage antics.
For their debut performance in the city, the celebrated group has prepared eight pieces that include a Taiwanese folk song ‘Solar myth’ and ‘Sosso bala,’ which was penned down by a French composer. “The highlight will be the Bollywood medley,” she adds. The set will feature the ensemble perform songs like ‘Mera naam chin chin chu…’, ‘Mera joota hai japani…’, ‘Mehndi lagake rakhna…’ and two tracks from Slumdog Millionaire. “It will be fun to see traditional music and western rhythms combined to produces Bollywood melodies,” adds Wu.
The Ju Percussion Group performs at Tata Theatre, NCPA tonight, at 7 pm. Call 22813302 for details.