Massive Chinese Drumming Troupe Thunders Into Socorro

SOCORRO, N.M. October 28, 2010 – Jigu! Thunder Drums of China has been enchanting audiences for nearly two decades in many countries around the world. Now, the thunder is rolling into Socorro! Prepare to experience the vibrant and colorful roar of Jigu! Thunder Drums of China.
Jigu! Thunder Drums of China will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Macey Center.

Hailing from the Shanxi Province in China, this world-renown company of drummers, percussionists, and musicians thrill audiences around the globe with awe-inspiring performances.  The troupe recentlt started its fourth North American theatre tour. Jigu! Thunder Drums of China will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Macey Center as part of New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series.

In Chinese, Jigu literally means ‘to beat or touch the drum,’ and beat the drum with passion and vigor is what these performers do best!  Audiences will be transfixed by the awesome musicality and power of Jigu! Thunder Drums of China. The fine art of drumming and percussive performance is demonstrative of China’s rich and historic culture, especially in and around the Shanxi Province, which is where the performers call home. 

In China, the drum and percussive arts are passed down from generation to generation, and ancient drumming tradition can be traced back many centuries to the city of Jiangzhou, located in what is now called Xinjiang County, in modern China.  The old city of Jiangzhou was the home to Emperor Li Shimin (Tang Dynasty A.D. 618-907), and his celebrated percussion orchestra.  In fact, some of the earliest archaeological evidence of Chinese percussion music found has been unearthed in the Shanxi region.

Performances by Jigu! Thunder Drums of China are deeply rooted in this rich heritage. An intricate blend of traditional and modern elements, this fascinating, innovative show, conceived by the producers of The Peking Acrobats, is sure to captivate audiences of all ages.  The drummers, percussionists, and musicians of Jigu!, range in age from about 16 to 30 years old, and their youthful exuberance shines in every performance. The show offers intense, high-tech lighting and special effects that patrons won't want to miss. Not only will audiences be immersed in a wonderland of sight and sound, they will be swept away by the incredible drumming power and astounding musicianship displayed by these talented performers!

Founded in 1988, the Shanxi Jiangzhou Drum Art Ensemble is known as Jigu! when they perform in the West.  They have performed in many countries around the world including the United States, Canada, Denmark, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Their performances at the Hong Kong Arts Festival were lauded “varied as the beats and drums themselves” and featured “dramatic, heart-stopping pieces” while also displaying a playful attitude with acts that are “entirely humorous!”
In 2007, Jigu embarked on their very first North American Tour to great success and acclaim.  Their sold-out shows were joyous celebrations of Chinese music, culture, drumming, and fun!  The group visited over 25 North American cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, and Philadelphia. among others. Jigu amazed the crowds with their unique talents and powerful musical skills. The group also visited Canada for the first time on this tour, where they played to enthusiastic audiences in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jigu! Thunder Drums of China has performed around the world to wide critical acclaim. The troupe will perform  Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Macey Center.

After the success of their initial tour, Jigu! was promptly booked for a second North American Tour, in the Spring of 2008.  This tour brought the group to such U.S. cities as Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, and several cities in Florida. In 2009, they toured yet again, this time in the Fall of that year.  On this tour, they visited Albuquerque, Louisville, Ky., Johnstown, Pa., Daytona Beach, Fla., the Chicago-land area, several cities in the Carolinas and, once again, they returned to play several performances in Florida. Now, as Jigu embarks on their Fourth North American Tour, they look forward to more successful performances, and to the opportunity of bringing their ancient and thrilling art form to a wider audience in every city they visit.

Jigu! has released their very first DVD and CD as part of an exciting entertainment package.  These digitally produced media products feature their thrilling performance “live” and was recorded on their initial US Tour.  Vibrant costumes and stunning visual effects heighten the experience as viewers and listeners are transported to another realm by these amazing musicians, experiencing the awesome power of this incredible show.  The DVD and CD capture all the joyful excitement of a performance by Jigu and are available at all of their performances and on-line at www.iaipresentations.com.

A selection of published reviews of Jigu!

Jigu’s! virtuosic command of style and technique tells wordless tales of man and nature, war and peace, love and delight ~ all through an imaginative fusion of  music, movement, color, and costume!
Rochester City News (New York, USA)

“A troupe of highly professional caliber that, with talent and charm, takes the audience by storm!”
Mitjutland Paper (Arhus Festival, Denmark)

“The thunder dragon roared in the Cultural Grand Theatre on Monday night…it roared, then, it began tapping its toes to the insistent rhythms of Jigu! Thunder Drums of China!”            
South China Morning Post  (Hong Kong, China)

“Jigu! told stories that interwove legends and fairy tales with everyday life expressed eloquently by this fantastic, very skillful drumming group before a huge and appreciative audience!”            
Jutlands Morning Post (Arhus Festival, Denmark)

“Jigu! offers a new way of presenting music to an audience by combining it with a unique visual element...demonstrating just how diverse the concept of family entertainment & world music can be!”
The Montgomery County Sentinel (Maryland, USA)

When not on tour, Jigu continues to participate in many National and International Festivals and Arts Events.  These appearances include CCTV’s (Chinese Central Television’s) Spring Festival; the Macao International Music Festival, the Shanghai International Arts Festival; the Chinese Folk Art Festival the Summer of Ha'ErBin Arts Festival; the Hong Kong Drum Festival and Competition; the internationally renowned Arhus Cultural Festival in Denmark, and the 2004 NBA International Games, where they were the featured musical performers.  Company members also participated in the Cultural Entertainment programming at various venues throughout Beijing, as part of the Beijing Olympic Games celebrations in 2008.  The performers were honored to be selected to participate in all of these very prestigious events.

Jigu has also won numerous awards including the 1992 Chinese Folk Competitions for Percussion and Drums Performers, and they were the Gold Medalists at the 2004 National Star Awards in China, given for excellence in their fields of drumming and percussive performance.  They also won Gold Medals at the National Star Awards competition in 1992, 2000 and 2001.

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 p.m. the day before the event. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Western Wear, Sofia’s Kitchen/Burrito Tyme or at the door.

The evening show and afternoon youth performance for Socorro students is a Bank of America Partner event.  The Bank of America Foundation awarded a grant to the Performing Arts Series based on the strong recommendation of Socorro’s branch manager Emmy Arfans-Stanzione, who is a strong supporter of arts and education programs for local youth and families. Both Emmy Stanzione and PAS Director Ronna Kalish are ecstatic that Bank of America Foundation reinstated its support of PAS.  

This event is also receiving grant support from New Mexico Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lodging is provided by Best Western Motel, courtesy of owners Addy and Mayor Ravi Bhasker. States Ronna, “PAS could not bring the amazing international artists we do without the long standing support of Best Western and Holiday Inn Express. Addy and her staff accommodate our largest arts groups, with multiple night stays.  It’s huge for PAS!”

Local sponsors include Presbyterian Socorro General Hospital, Socorro Insurance Mart, and the New Mexico Tech Student Association.  

Before the concert, Tech Club/Club Macey holds a social in Macey from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with Chinese cuisine. The clubs present social hours for people 21 and over. There is a $5 cover charge if you are not a member.

Subscriptions will be available at the door, in advance, or any time throughout the season, and provide a 30 percent savings. Subscribers may trade in unused tickets for other concerts in the season and are recognized in the evening programs.

Admission is free to New Mexico Tech students enrolled in at least 6 hours and showing a valid ID. Students should pick up their tickets in advance at the Tech Bookstore.


New Mexico Tech