The Friday Fillip: Bang On

I don’t know about you, but I often like to bang on things . . . make a noise, as rhythmically as possible. Not very, in my case. Drumming. It’s the old heart beat thing, I suppose, which leads to dancing (the reason, so the joke goes, that Baptists — or is it Methodists? — are opposed to pre marital sex1). Staying still was a hard-learned lesson for most of us, I’d wager. And staying quiet even harder. If you have hung around little children for any length of time, you’ve probably been entertained by a kitchen concert involving a wooden spoon and various pots and lids disported on the floor. So this urge to bang and tap and rap and clap (oh, onomatopoeia!) arises early.

In some of us — most of us, perhaps — it gets tamped down or goes unconscious. Think of the annoying pencil drummer at one of your favourite interminable committee meetings. Or the frantic under-the-table knee jiggler making wakes in your latte. But in a few glorious others, the urge gets nourished and developed into art. We know the Gene Krupas and Buddy Riches, the Phil Collinses, the Ringos (yes, Ringo Starr, undervalued goofball). And I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you of the miraculous South Asian musicians2 who can play intricate note-rhythms on tablas and vocalize as well in imitation.

But today I want to offer you something in the way of hammering that less structured3 than a performance piece. Here’s the artist Jarbas Agnelli, from São Paulo, wandering around his farm hitting things, simply making his world sound. Try it yourself.


So get out there and knock on wood — or on anything that resonates. And do it soon, before the upcoming season’s sonic wallpaper hammers you with “Little Drummer B—” Arghh! Too late!

  1. Which, because it’s Friday and parentheticals are allowed to multiply, puts me in mind of a certain candidate for one of our top judge spots, who, when asked whether formal marriage would replace the current informal partner relationship should the elevation occur, replied: “What? And give up all that pre-marital sex?”↩︎
  2. The treat here in the linked text above is from the Toronto Tabla Ensemble. ↩︎
  3. For something of a mixture of impromptu and organized, take a look/listen here ↩︎.

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