The Volunteer Drummers from the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

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London New Years Day Parade 2016

For the 4th year in a row, we performed at the London New Years Day Parade, this time as wizards to celebrate 30 Magical Years.

Pandemonium Drummers Online Shop

T-shirts, magic mugs, badges, outerwear and more, with a variety of motives related to the London 2012 Opening and Closing Ceremonies - shop.pandemoniumdrummers.co.uk.

The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Pandemonium Drummers were the 965 volunteer drummers who supported a dramatic soundtrack to the Pandemonium segment that saw one of the biggest live stage set changes in history.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Going 'Back Home' for the Sport Relief Games 2016


The Pandemonium Drummers will be returning once again to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 20th March to entertain the crowds and cheer on competitors during the Sport Relief Games 2016.

With our bucket drums, signature blue bowler hats and some energising beats, our task will be to spur on the participants as they make their way round the course  raising money for a worthy cause.  


Drumming for Sport Relief in the Olympic Park in 2014
We will be doing  what we call "Cheer-Drumming" - which is along the lines of cheer-leading except we have drums instead of pom-poms, beats instead of chants and some limited choreography - high kicks are impractical whilst having percussion strapped on!

This will be our second appearance at the Sport Relief Games as we also drummed at the previous time it was held in 2014.  They asked us back so we must be doing something right!



More about Sport Relief


Sport Relief is back from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March and there are more ways than ever for you to take part, change lives and feel proud. Whether you get sponsored to enter an event at the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games or fundraise with friends and family at home, work or school you’ll help people living incredibly tough lives. In fact, half of all the money raised by the public is spent right here at home in the UK, with the other half used to make a difference in the world’s poorest communities.


There’ll also be tons of top telly for you to look out for, across the BBC, in the run-up to the Sport Relief Weekend. It all culminates in an unmissable Night of Sport Relief TV, live from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Find out more at sportrelief.com.



Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pandemonium goes Kodo: World leading Taiko drumming

Two of our drummers had the opportunity to visit the Kodo One Earth: Mystery show at the Barbican on Monday, 15 February 2016.
Kodo is a Japanese taiko performing arts ensemble that performs on a worldwide scale but remain rooted in the local community of Sado Island, Japan.
Here is the response from our drummer Vicki:

Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery

Rumble, building up, then dying away. People with lights over their heads that they switch on and off. So far, so Pandemonium. But then there are dragons, and a synchronised, polished performance that doesn’t come from sporadic rehearsals at “Fire” and the occasional workshop at Harrow, which is how the Pandemonium Drummers train.

This is KODO – heartbeat, children of the drum, way of the drum, and there is nothing else like it on earth.

Based on the island of Sade, the troupe was founded 35 years ago to continue the study and practice of the O-daiko, Chu-daiko (drums), chappa (hand cymbal) and fue (flute). Preparation was, and continues to be, rigorous with one third of the year devoted to intensive training to develop technique and physical stamina. When I saw them in 1996, I am sure it was an all male ensemble. Now female students are admitted to, and pass, the tough two year apprenticeship. Only the very best are considered for further training.

The inclusion of female performers is due no doubt to their current artistic director Tamasaburo Bando, a noted onnagata (Kabuki actor of female roles). This is 21st Century Kodo, a theatrical show that draws on the rich and varied folk traditions of Japan.

 15 drummers, 36 drums, 4 dragons and 1 lion present a spectacle that is comic and thrilling by turns: three demons annoy some villagers and are subdued by food and copious amounts of sake; four girls conduct a conversation with wooden percussion, gradually changing mood until their squabbling is interrupted by a lion which they chase away with the help of other performers; three drummers with four drums perform an intricate routine, lit in such a way that the shadows they cast bring to mind the Shamanic rituals that are at the heart of the drumming; two drummers perform either side of a single drum, their wide-legged stance serving to enhance their power and attack.

These are performances of technical virtuosity that few can match. The whole performance culminated in a splendid ensemble piece blending skill and humour, with the drummers so obviously enjoying themselves it was infectious.

Personally, I did miss the feeling of ritual that I sensed 20 years ago, and comments I overheard on my way to the station indicated that others were missing the more serious side evident in earlier shows. However, it was an enjoyable spectacle and I hope that Kodo return to London soon.

For more information, visit www.kodo.or.jp
Photo reproduced from the Kodo website

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Preview: Valentine's Day at the Brunel Museum

On Valentine's Day, 14 Feb 2016 at 1pm, we will fill the Grand Entrance Hall of the Brunel Tunnel with the sound of our buckets and bins to create an unforgettable experience as part of the SEE16 Arts Festival.

We will play a full set, of course including a re-enactment of our part of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, but also other pieces that we performed at events such as the London Youth Games or the London New Years Day Parade.

Specially for the SEE16 Festival, we have prepared something we have never done before - a premiere!

At this historic venue, we will of course also enlist the help of our Ceremony Performer friends the Working Men and Women, and you will get to meet Mr Brunel himself.


Please note, the first 10 minutes and the finale will be loud (within health and safety limits), and the venue has access restrictions, involving a small climb, a half height doorway and a temporary staircase (no high heels please).

The Brunel Tunnel and Museum

The world's first successful underwater tunnel was constructed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is today used for the East London Line of the London Overground between Rotherhithe and Wapping.

Originally used as a foot tunnel, grand entrance halls were located at either end, and these were built with new construction methods.

The Grand Entrance Hall at the Rotherhithe end forms part of the Brunel Museum, which does regular tours of the hall and is well worth a visit.

While a new entrance to the hall is currently under construction, visitors will still have to use the current Hobbit Hole entrance, which is only 90cm high and involves climbing over a wall - our concert will be one of the last opportunities to use the Hobbit Hole before the new entrance opens in March.

SEE16 Arts Festival

SEE16 is the first community arts festival by residents and businesses from the SE16 postcode area, which covers the Rotherhithe peninsula and surrounding areas.

The festival runs from 11th until 14th February 2016 and is organised by I Live in SE16.

Please see SEE16festival.org for details and join other events for a great weekend out in Rotherhithe!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Magical Drumming at the London New Years Day Parade

30 Magical Years was the motto of the 2016 London New Years Day Parade, and we were invited back for the 4th year in a row.

We interpreted the motto by turning our drumsticks into magic rhythmic wands and dressing in wizard capes, topped off with our iconic lightbulb hats from the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony.

Supported by our London 2012 volunteer friends, the Ceremonies Dancers, we paraded along Piccadilly via Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to Parliament Square, along with other spectacular floats from the London Boroughs and impressive performance groups from London and the United States.

At dedicated performance points, we lined up to play the Panda Samba, our own dedicated samba-style piece played on our bucket drums.

The parade presenters highlighted the power of our positive energy in their commentary.


LNYDP 2016

Monday, 28 September 2015

Ambush at the Pearly Harvest Festival

The Pearly Harvest Festival in the beautiful Guildhall Courtyard has become a fixture in our annual calendar, and we were invited again by the Pearly Kings and Queens of London for a re-enactment of the Pandemonium sequence of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, with the help of the Working Men and Women.

This time, other London 2012 Ceremonies Volunteers and Games Makers decided to join in and flashmobbed our performance, and the result was a happy dance in weird and wonderful costumes, before they let us resume our performance.

Thanks to all participating London 2012 Volunteers, who simply cannot get enough (neither can we)!

See below for a video of the performance, the flash mob starts around 8:50.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Three Years Ago: The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

On 27th July 2012, we entered the world stage to create the sound of 965 bucket drums in Danny Boyle's breathtaking masterpiece: The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The Ceremony was hailed internationally as a glorious success, won several awards, and burned itself into the memories of a generation.

For us, it was the culmination of one of the most intense periods in our lives, and none of us would have imagined to be drumming on the original Olympic buckets and bins three years later.

The Pandemonium Drummers today

Our group's members are still the original Olympic Opening Ceremony Drummers, drumming on the original buckets and bins, and wearing the original costumes, although we have added instruments, costumes, and rhythms since.

We appeared in several other Opening Ceremonies for local, national and international events, we played at a number of festivals, functions and cultural events, and we supported several charities as well as sport events, including some related to the Olympic Games, such as the Special Olympics and the London Youth Games.

We won two awards, were mentioned in the Cabinet Office's London 2012 Legacy Report, and lately, we tested the water for new activity streams by offering drumming workshops.

Have a look yourself, the two photo-slide videos below compile impressions from our gigs:

Happy Anniversaries

2013

Two years ago, we reminisced about the big day in three blog posts:
We also returned to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a performance close to the Olympic Stadium:


2014

Last year, we returned to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park again for a performance even closer to the Olympic Stadium - we were performing at the Great British Carnival!

2015

This year, the obvious location to go to was of course the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: we drummed for the runners of the Great Newham Run on their way to the finish line inside the Olympic Stadium, and we took this opportunity to revisit 'our birthplace', the now revamped Olympic Stadium on the first day of its temporary opening!



Happy anniversary to us, our drummers, and all of our fellow Ceremonies Volunteer Performers, Games Makers, and Olympic & post-Olympic friends & supporters!

Celebrate by watching this five-minute sequence of our segment, Pandemonium:
The IOC's official Pandemonium summary video
Or better still, watch the whole ceremony!
The Complete London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Vote for the Pandemonium Drummers

Please vote for us!

The Rugby Football Union has asked fans to record a rendition of the English rugby classic Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Of course, we responded to this call - many of our drummers will be volunteering at next year's Rugby World Cup, and last year, we performed at the Opening Ceremony of the last ever Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff.

Watch our contribution below, and don't forget to vote to help us to rise up the leaderboards to increase our chances to feature in an official RFU video!

View our submission and look out for the 'Vote' button on the right hand side
(Facebook account required)