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That sound you hear is Toronto’s inaugural Body Percussion Festival

Members of the Montreal gumboot ensemble Bourask.

Guy Samson

Question: Where do you find a hambone and a hocket? Answer: Toronto's first-ever Body Percussion Festival.

Vivien Moore is one of the city's more quirky dance artists, so it's not surprising that she is the brains behind the weekend spectacle. The rules are simple. The 15 performances, spread over three days, feature the body, or extensions of the body (in the form of props), as the only source of sound.

Hambone was developed by American slaves as a way of making music when they weren't allowed to use musical instruments. San Diego's SlapJazzDanny is among the greatest hambone artists in the world. He literally converts his body into a drum set. Hocket, as performed by the Toronto group Grex, is a vocal technique in which singers alternate emitting one note at a time, so collectively they comprise a single melody.

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The festival includes the usual suspects like flamenco, Kathak and tap, together with gumboot, step, clog, gigue, Morris dance and body music. Vocally, there's Carnatic and beatbox.

Bring grandma and the kids. They'll love it.

Body Percussion Festival takes place at Harbourfront Centre's Studio Theatre, March 28-30, in Toronto. Each day also features workshops (harbourfrontcentre.com).

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