Crosspulse – it’s all in the beat

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When I let my nine-year-old son begin drum lessons, I privately voted myself ‘Mother of the Year’. Because whichever way you look at it, drums are loud. However, there has been an upside to the drumming – there are new rhythms on our turntable.

Let me introduce to the word on the ‘beat’ – Crosspulse.

Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble is a five-member rhythm outfit drawing musical inspiration from a multitude of far-flung places and musical traditions – from West-African drumming and Balinese gamelan to traditional jazz and South Indian solkatu. Notably, a feature instrument in Crosspulse’s music is the human body – a lot of good sounds can be made with clapping, slapping, snapping and tapping.

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Crosspulse runs US music workshops and an innovative education program. While we can’t exactly participate in the workshops from Australia, we can enjoy Crosspulse rhythms through their new album for kids and families – I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!).

Inspired by the African music that is at the core of many music and dance traditions across the Americas, Crosspulse add hand drums, clave, bass, banjo, nose flutes, cajón, bamboo spoons, gongi bells, maracas, quitiplas, found sounds such as tin cans and chopsticks, and more to create an album that is bursting with original sound.

It’s hard to resist tapping along after hearing the opening track, Walkin’ the Dog, a snappy take on the classic. There are plenty of tracks with rich and unusual tribal sounds, including the seko drums in Yamawele, bamboo stamping tubes in Cumbe, and more bamboo beats in Rara. My highlights – the fabulous call and response song, Little Liza Jane, the strangely soothing (yet upbeat) Jalan-Jalan, and the roll-call of unusual instruments in Flores.

This album is perfect for kids who like to join in to music with their own instruments. It’s also been the start of many wild lounge-room dance parties at our house!

Buy I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!) online directly from Crosspulse for US$15. Crosspulse ship to Australia.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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