Drums and laughs fuel Explosion

BAM Percussion

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For a show called Explosion, there’s not a single outburst of discernible dialogue.

Maybe that was deliberately planned by BAM Percussion for a production that’s toured 30 countries since its debut in 2006?


Absolutely not,” said Jean-Sebastien Dallaire. “We’re not that smart, unfortunately.”

Simply said, the prospect of a group of drummers, more familiar with being at the back of the stage backing a band, “speaking was terrifying.”

Voices were later added, but Dallaire and company don’t speak English, or any other known language to mankind, when Explosion is staged.

I don’t think you could ever plan a show like that,” he told The Sault Star during a recent telephone interview from his home in Gatineau, Que. “Three guys that speak in gibberish dressed in spandex. I don’t think you could plan that, but it’s been a wonderful act and it’s one of the best ones in my life.”

Three “clowns on steroids” discover the drums in Explosion.

There’s humour for youngsters and their parents, when Over the Rainbow Children’s Entertainment Series presents the show Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. at Sault Community Theatre Centre.

Dallaire is Tom Tom. He’s “a big baby when he doesn’t get what he wants, but people love him anyway.”

There’s sketch comedy and five percussive performances on modified industrial barrels. Dallaire can count on younger audience members “automatically” bobbing their heads when the drumming starts.

They feel the rhythm,” he said. “It gets back to that visceral need of rhythm. We all have that.”

Older audience members feel the beat too, Dallaire says. He’s seen some mothers and fathers who are more impressed with Explosion than their offspring.

It gets you back to your kid heart,” said Dallaire. “You’re going back to what it felt like to be a kid and that’s basically what we do. We play and we get people to walk inside that world and forget about all the stuff that goes on in our sometimes very harsh reality everyday.”

BAM Percussion is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with, Dallaire notes, a tour of Northern Ontario in February.

We are Canadian,” he said.

The milestone strikes Dallaire as “mind-boggling,” recalling the group’s first show took shape in a living room.

No aspirations except this thing might last like most other projects, a few years, and 20 years later we’re still doing it,” he said. “(It’s) a great beautiful accident that happened to all of us.”

The year also includes a three-week tour of New Brunswick and appearances in Spain, and possibly Belgium and Holland, in May.

BAM Percussion cut its teeth in Europe, touring theatre festivals for eight years. The training ground of many street festivals proved both ruthless and invaluable.

In street shows there’s no pity for boring performances,” said Dallaire. “You’ve got to be on … If you give (passersby) that minute to think about it, they’re gone and that hurts. That’s how you learn. We’re on stage and people actually walk away during your performance and then you make sure that never happens again.”

He calls that training ground “the best school, definitely the best school.”

Playing venues where people pay to see BAM Percussion is “nothing but fun because it’s easy,” said Dallaire.

We’ve been through the hard stuff,” he said.

Tickets, $18 adults and $15 children plus box office surcharge, are on sale at Community Theatre Box Office at Station Mall or onlione at www.saultctc.ca


On Twitter: @Saultreporer