In 1997 Bernard Goh, formed the HANDS PERCUSSION group, becoming its Artistic Director. Already living a life that embodied passion for music, drumming and percussion, it seemed a natural progression for the young visionary and inspired artist. With a small team of full-time performers all of whom were well under way to becoming brilliant musicians, HANDS began a musical journey of a lifetime. Despite the challenges of being a self-funded group they are now a crowd-favorite at local performing arts venues, with a steadily growing reputation locally and internationally.
Moving into their 20th year in 2017, HANDS functions on a mechanism which works and clearly shows an awareness of responsibilities, discipline, self-motivation and passion for what they do. Their creative journey is on a constant roller coaster ride. Beginning on a foundation of their trademark 24 Festive Drums style which is typically explosive and loud traditional drumming they have experimented with so many styles, instruments and technology not with-standing creating multidisciplinary productions. Two of their notably “explosive” productions are ‘The NEXT’ produced in 2012 and ‘Tchaikovsky in Gamelan’ in 2014 where they pushed creative and musical boundaries. In 2016 HANDS took their portfolio to a new level, with minimal drumming, stunning musicality and stirring physical movement in a debut site-specific performance ‘OPIUM’ with local and French artists.
The group has travelled extensively for both corporate engagements and artistic endeavors. Some examples are like to Bali, Indonesia for the vibrant Bali Sprit Festival and to Los Angeles in the United States for a live jamming session at SuperEverything* with The Light Surgeons (from the UK), a collaborative project commissioned by British Council Malaysia and supported by the Arts Council England, in 2016.
Some highlights for 2015, were their performances at The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland in January and in November at the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur where President Obama was scheduled to attend. In 2015, 2013 and 2010 HANDS participated in the World Gamelan Festival held in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu. 2014 saw them performing at the 8th Taiwan International Percussion Convention (TIPC) through invitation from Master Ju, the Founder and Artistic Director of Ju Percussion Group (JPG) and travelling to Seoul, South Korea for the Seoul Drum Festival.
In 2011 they featured a customized gamelan set in a debut gamelan concert in ‘RI YUE CHU YIN’ (The Birth of HANDS PERCUSSION Gamelan). In 2008 they were invited to represent Malaysia at the 16th International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) World Congress in Adelaide, Australia. They graced the groundbreaking ceremony of The Ashgabat Olympic Complex in 2010, in preparation for Turkmenistan to be the first country in Central Asia to host the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
From humble beginnings of school grounds rehearsal space and rented instruments, the group has steadily grown from strength to strength. Demonstrating that intention, passion and hard-work never fail.