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Percussionists drum up interest ahead of Commonwealth Festival Perth

06 Sep 2011
International drumming star Zakir Hussain has signed up for the opening celebration of the Commonwealth Festival Perth on October 23, which will be staged in conjunction with the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Culture and Arts Minister John Day said hundreds of Perth-based percussionists will also perform a work by Australian composer Graeme Leak, specially commissioned for the festival.

“Zakir Hussain is a talent of the highest order and a national treasure in his homeland of India,” Mr Day said.

“He has achieved worldwide acclaim as one of the greatest musicians and percussionists of our time and exemplifies the spirit of the festival, which will showcase the people and cultures of the Commonwealth.

“The performance will be the centrepiece of the opening celebration, a free Sunday event for all the family that centres around music and light.”

The Minister said community involvement would be a key feature of the People’s Space where a program of local musicians and community groups would perform on the Commonwealth Community Stage.

“The People’s Space will be the heart of the festival, transforming the Perth Cultural Centre into a colourful hub of live music, films, exhibitions, markets, street theatre and multicultural food for four days,” Mr Day said.

“Most events are free and it will be a place where the public can be part of the CHOGM experience, exploring what it means to be a member of the Commonwealth community.”

The Commonwealth Festival Perth will be held from October 23-30 with the People’s Space open from October 26-29. The festival is supported by the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest. The full program will be released next week.