REVIEW – The art of body percussion with Junkyard Beats at Woodford Folk Festival

by Haley Smith

junkyard beats
Junkyard Beats show the art of body percussion – WFF stock photo

“Skimdadaboo!” Oded Prior seduces the audience in a made-up language, waving to the crowd gathering under the Parlour tent at Woodford Folk Festival.

He begins stomping the ground with his boot so hard that it makes the lights jolt on the stage. He quickly establishes himself as the leader of the pack with companions Braeden Lee and Marina De Silva joining him as they speak their foreign language together and stomp on the stage.

The energetic character Leslie Marsh is revealed from a large cupboard box, poking his arms through the sides resulting in a laugh from the kids in the front row.

The body percussion team make the sounds and movements look so easy that one is made to believe this would be a simple act to learn. But after witnessing the workshop by Oded Prior earlier today body percussion is a much more difficult art than you would think. With fast paced hand slapping movements over different parts of the body mixed with stomping on the ground the coordination required is not for the amateur performer.

Junkyard Beats
Junkyard Beats use their own made-up language to communicate on-stage. Photo Meg Williams-Dell

A few hiccups when microphones fell off performers’ heads, bouncing out of pockets and props broke on stage but the troupe continue with ease, staying in character on stage and using the mistakes to their advantage as they move into the next scene.

The show continues with growing intensity as the trio teach the newcomer different beats and have him join in on their musical percussion with household objects such as water bottles and boxes.

A kitchen scene banging pots and pans begins and the crowd starts to cheer at the musical sounds produced in this unique format.

The highlight of the show is the wide-eyed entertainer Leslie Marsh who constantly makes the kids laugh and gets the adults joining in on the fun.

The show progresses at lightening speed from this moment on. Embracing the energy of the crowd the performers stomp the ground harder and encourage all to clap and stomp along with the beat.  

Braeden Lee wanders out into the crowd and picks a man to come up on stage and dance along with the percussion beat, the audience laughs as he tries to keep up with the rhythms and fails as they try to teach him in their made-up language.

The climax of the show is a selection of garbage bins that they bang like drum kits, kicking and whacking the lids and sides to make all kinds of different rhythms and noises. The audience stand and cheer wanting more from the performers but the tight stage times at the festival can’t be changed. The crowd is full of smiles as they exit the stage.

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