8,000 to drum their way into Guinness
A band of 8,000 drummers in India's northeastern state of Meghalaya is set to create a new Guinness World Record on Saturday for the largest drum ensemble.
"Everything is set for this historic feat with the drummers rehearsing for the actual show later in the afternoon," M Lansing, vice chairman of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF), said.
The current Guinness world record for the largest drum ensemble was set in February 2005 by Po Leung Kuk - a charity organisation in Hong Kong helping orphaned children - which assembled 7,727 drummers.
"As an adjudicator, I am looking for three things for this new world record - the number of drummers should be more than the Hong Kong drum ensemble, the drummers shall have to play for a minimum of five minutes, and the beat should have some synchronised melody," Michael Whitty, a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records, told IANS.
The 8,000 drummers will play a synchronised tune called "Positive Vibrations" for at least five minutes composed by local musician Rudy Wallang at an open stadium. The drum ensemble also kicks off the state's weeklong Autumn Festival.
"The participants range from professionals to school children and villagers. We are expecting at least 1,000 indigenous drums being played at the event, alongside the normal small drums," said Aiban S. Mawkhroh, MTDF general secretary.
The previous record was held by Grammy award winner Mickey Hart, who assembled 4,374 drummers at the Global Festival for Peace in Laytonville, California, in 2004.
"There will be 10,000 ribbons and each participant will have a ribbon tied on their hand. We shall count the remaining ribbons to make out the number of drummers. I shall be on stage to watch the beat session and if I find the drumming lacking in melody I can ask them to repeat many times," Whitty said.
"The results would be announced instantly once the drummers satisfy the guidelines."
There is lot of enthusiasm with people already making their way to the stadium.
"The enthusiasm is tremendous and we hope this record-breaking event will change the perception of the outside world towards the northeast - this region is not just about killings and violence and we are capable of positive things as well," Mawkhroh said.
An estimated 20,000 people are expected to witness the record-breaking beat session.
The drum ensemble apart, the Autumn Festival would have events like water sports, kite flying, fishing, archery, besides jugglers and entertainers from Australia to entertain the crowd.
"This would be a gala carnival and we expect people from both India and abroad to take part in the festivities," Meghalaya Tourism Minister RG Lyngdoh said.