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DRUM! is a stage experience with a message

Len LeBlanc says he doesn’t want to miss a beat of being a part of the magical stage production, DRUM!

Len LeBlanc says he doesn’t want to miss a beat of being a part of the magical stage production, DRUM!

“It’s inspiring for everything else I do in my life,” the Acadian singer and percussionist said yesterday during a rehearsal break at Dalhousie University’s Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, where he and his fellow DRUM! members are performing this week.

LeBlanc said participating in the unique stage show, described as “a heart-pumping fusion of music, dance, rhythm and song,” instills a sense of pride in him. Perhaps that’s because not only does DRUM! combine different art forms, but it also brings together cultures from across the province.

DRUM! uses a mix of sights and sounds from Nova Scotia’s four founding cultures of Aboriginal, Acadian, Black and Celtic to create a stunning and completely unique performance. Although DRUM! got its start as an occasional local show 10 years ago, it quickly grew into a full-length production and now tours the world.

Most recently, DRUM! released its first DVD and kicked off Canada Day ceremonies on Parliament Hill. The group has even been asked to perform at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

“It’s the fabric of our history,” musical director Doris Mason, who also sings and plays keyboards in the show, said yesterday of why DRUM! seems connect with audiences. She called the show "a learning experience" for both performers and audience members alike.

Mason is from Big Island, representing her Gaelic and English heritage, while LeBlanc is from Salmon River and Hubert Francis, who joined his peers for a brief break backstage, is a Mi’kmaq man from Elsipogtog Reserve in New Brunswick who narrates the show.

“We have a very positive message,” Francis said. “It’s how we should be getting along and working together, and have respect for each other.”

Judging from the upbeat music spilling out of the Rebecca Cohn yesterday, the musicians and dancers of DRUM! are already very much in synch.

 
 
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