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Release: April 10, 2000

(NOTE TO EDITORS: A still photo from the Buster Keaton silent film "Cops" can be found on the world-wide web at

Percussion Ensemble will play 'With These Hands' and accompany a silent film April 17

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble will perform "With These Hands" -- music played with hands, without sticks or mallets -- as part of a multi-media concert event at 8 p.m. Monday, April 17, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The hand drumming performances will feature two guest artists, UI alumnus Yousif Sheronick, a member of the Ethos Percussion Group, who will perform at Hancher Auditorium on April 18; and Yoruba drummer Olabayo Olaniyi from Nigeria, a graduate student in the UI School of Art and Art History.

In addition to the hand drumming performances, the Percussion Ensemble will provide accompaniment to "Cops," a silent film directed by Buster Keaton. The concert will be under the direction of Dan Moore, percussion faculty member of the School of Music.

Following the concert, audience members will be able to participate in a drum circle led by the Yahoo Drummers of Iowa City. The drum circle will be sponsored by the UI Percussion Society and the UI Music Therapy Club.

"This will be a community-building event for the public," Moore said. "Participants will be encouraged to drum, dance or just listen."

Sheronick is an eight-year veteran of Handance, a group organized by master drummer Glen Velez to perform, teach and promote hand drumming on frame drums. An extraordinarily diverse artist, Sheronick is also artist in residence at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a member of the New Ensemble for Early Music and the Italian music and theater company I Giullari di Piazza, and he performs Sephardic music with the group Alhambra.

Sheronick and the ensemble will perform Velez’s "Hand Dance," performing on frame drums. One of the oldest and most versatile forms of percussion, frame drums are found in cultures throughout the world, from Ireland to the peoples of both northern and sub-Saharan Africa, and from India to the native cultures of the Americas. They are single-head drums, stretched on a frame, and are usually played with the hands.

Olabayo Olaniyi was born in Oshogbo, Nigeria, and is the first son of Chief Twin Seven Seven and Nike Davies, two renowned Nigerian artists. Convinced that their village upbringing was the foundation of their success, Olabayo’s parents sent him to live with his grandparents in a traditional Yoruba village. Olabayo returned to Oshogbo after his initiation. Recognizing his artistic talents, his mother introduced him to the art of "adire," a traditional Yoruba fabric art. While studying for an MFA in sculpture at the UI School of Art and Art History , Olabayo is active throughout the United States as an artist, storyteller, singer, dancer, and drummer.

Olabayo has taught traditional African performance techniques to the members of the UI Percussion Ensemble. He and the ensemble will perform together three Yoruba folk dances on African drums, bells and shakers.

On the hand percussion portion of the program, the Percussion Ensemble will also perform "Fanfare for Tambourines" by John Alfieri and "Head Talk" by Mark Ford.

Buster Keaton is considered one of the most influential early film actors and directors. Known for his physical comedy and great sense of timing, Keaton was in vaudeville from the age of five and was an actor and director of silent films from 1917 until the development of "talkies." He continued to direct and appear in films for major studios and made his last feature film shortly before his death in 1966. His work inspired and influenced countless circus clowns; actors and comedians as diverse as Gene Kelly, Dick Van Dyke, and Jackie Chan; and filmmakers from Sergei Eisenstein to Frank Capra and Orson Welles.

Made in 1922, "Cops" was a short film directed by Keaton and Eddie Cline for the Comique Film Corporation. The silent film featured Cline, Joe Roberts and Virginia Fox. The film will be projected on a screen in Clapp Recital Hall. Accompaniment will be played by six members of the Percussion Ensemble -- four playing marimba, vibes and xylophone and two doing sound effects with the film action. Musical accompaniment will consist of period pieces matched to the mood of each scene, just as a theater organist would have provided in the 1920s.

The Percussion Ensemble will also accompany a free screening of "Cops" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27 in Room 101 of the Becker Communications Studies Building. That screening is part of a series presented for the Institute of Cinema and Culture’s proseminar on silent film.

The UI Percussion Ensemble is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary season. One of the most active performing groups at the UI School of Music, the Percussion Ensemble presents concerts and educational programs on campus and across Iowa. Each year the group performs for hundreds of Iowa school children through the UI ArtShare program.

The UI Percussion Ensemble performs musical styles ranging from ragtime and jazz to contemporary concert idioms and traditional musical styles from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. In addition to the standard percussion repertoire, the ensemble regularly performs the newest music written by both professional composers and students.

An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he is known as a "total percussionist."

Moore joined the UI music faculty in 1995. Only the second full-time professor of percussion at the UI, he succeeded Thomas L. Davis, who taught percussion at the UI for more than 35 years. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion. He has written for Jazz Player, Sticks and Mallets and Percussive Notes magazines.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at Read about the Percussion Ensemble at