Colin Currie Group to drum up a crowd at Saffron Hall

PUBLISHED: 13:08 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:08 31 March 2015

Colin Currie, artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, will be playing with his percussion group at Saffron Hall on April 26. Photo: Chris Gloag.

Colin Currie, artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre, will be playing with his percussion group at Saffron Hall on April 26. Photo: Chris Gloag.

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Saffron Hall will resound with innovative rhythms and musical minimalism later this month, as the percussion-led Colin Currie Group takes to the stage.

Formed in 2006 out of a love of the music of American composer Steve Reich, the ensemble has made the performance of the contemporary pieces its priority.

“We are a successful group devoted to the music of Steve Reich,” virtuoso percussionist Colin Currie explained to the Reporter.

“We have marimbas, xylophones and one vibraphone. There are 18 players, including six percussionists, four singers, four pianists.

“It’s completely magical, a brilliant fusion of sounds.

“Although they might sound different when we describe them, such as women’s voices and marimbas, it works really well, it creates this beautiful sheen.”

Whilst predominantly a soloist who plays concertos with orchestras, Currie’s passion for this particular project is clear.

“The musicians have been hand-picked to perform his music. Everyone is really excellent,” added the Southbank artist-in-residence, whose earliest memories are of playing toy drums.

The ensemble will take on three of the iconic composer’s pieces for this concert, including the iconic Music for 18 Musicians.

Composed between 1974-76, the piece is based on a cycle of eleven chords introduced at the beginning (called ‘Pulses’) and is Reich’s first attempt at writing for larger ensembles. The work is known for the augmentation of harmonies and melodies, as well as the use of human breath, employed in the clarinets and voices, which help structure the piece.

The group will also perform the recently-premiered Quartet for vibraphones and keyboards, written especially for the ensemble, while Music for pieces of wood will take the audience on a trance-like journey exceeding expectations of percussion performances.

The concert takes place at 7.30pm on April 26 at Saffron Hall. Tickets cost £10-£25 and are available from saffronhall.com. For more information on the group, visit colincurriegroup.com.

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