KALABASH
(duration ~ 7:30)
Percussion quartet for 2 marimbas, log drums and optional splash cymbals

To purchase the score and parts for this work, please see the print music catalogues
Program note –
Kalabash for four percussionists, was composed as part of the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship for the ANU School of Music’s student percussion ensemble Drumatix & was premiered by them at the National Art Gallery in July 2004.
Two marimbas & a selection of splash cymbals & log drums are shared amongst the four players who engage in a virtuosic interplay reminiscent of the balofon music of West Africa.
The balofon is the forerunner of the modern marimba & shares many physical characteristics with its modern counterpart, the main difference being that the wooden bars (or notes) are suspended above a collection of different sized kalabash gourds instead of aluminium resnonators. In some instances these gourds have spiderwebs stretched over their openings which create a fantastic buzzing resonance when the bars are hit with mallets.
The traditional music of West Africa frequently features the balofon & there are many accomplished exponents of dazzling virtuosity amongst the tribes of Northern Ghana.
It is the musical gestures & celebratory nature of this folk music which in some ways informs the language of Kalabash & though there is no direct borrowing of musical themes or techniques, this exotic sound world has become a departure point for the compositional process.