By: Sangitha Raman

“What happens when an artiste is stripped of his instruments, can he still perform?” asks Riduan Zalani, a body percussionist.

For the 28 year old, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Trailblazing into Singapore the art of utilising one’s body parts to create sounds and rhythms, Riduan started incorporating the form in his performances with his music group, Nadi Singapura, while he experimented with various combinations of the form.

Riduan recalled that Gilson de Assis, a Brazilian body percussionist introduced him to the form during a master class in Italy.  That got the engine started for Riduan, he explored what was unique around the region and wanted to introduce routines that Singaporeans could relate to.

As is the case with every other artistic revolution, a mishap must occur for one to spontaneously save the day with innovation and creativity.  For Riduan, a power failure during one of Nadi Singapura’s performances served as his moment of ingenuity.

The show could’ve ended on a disappointing note, but the setback spurred Riduan to jump off stage, in the midst of the confusion, and continue the performance with body percussion, turning the misfortune around.

“I believe music is a way of life. I am still a percussionist even when I am stripped of everything,” he says.

Body percussion is limitless and the possibilities are endless.  The basic four steps are: Stomp, Clap, Snap, and Tap.

“There are really no rules, it’s up to the individual,” says Riduan, on the abundant combinations possible.

One pivotal element of body percussion is silence. According to Riduan, the audience need to appreciate noiselessness so that the slightest movement can become audible.  Starting from the head, then moving downwards, he would demonstrate the sounds that one’s different body parts could erupt.

“There is always something you create on your own, that’s how it snowballs into something else.”

As the saying goes, ‘teaching is also a form of learning’; Riduan conducts body percussion workshops at Community Centres and caters to corporate events and schools.

“If you have a hobby, make it a professional hobby, if you have a passion make it a professional passion,” he says, “I am just sharing my perspectives as a music practitioner; there isn’t a diploma in body percussion or that sort, you know.”

Participants in his workshops have ranged from as young as 11, to as old as 55 — though Riduan noted that youths from 15 to 25 are generally more interested in exploring this form.

“The way I speak to students, kids, adults, or drummers, are all different because I need to relate to them.”

For him, the pace for body percussion is only picking up. The immense success of the sold out Mosaic Music Makers: Body-Tap!  A Body-Percussion Workshop, held recently at the Esplanade , indicates only the start of a sonic revolution.


More information on Body Percussion workshops in Singapore can be found at: