Collision of Rhythm’s Bronkar Lee (left) and Aaron Williams will perform their drum-based show Jan. 12 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. (Moshe Levis)

Collision of Rhythm’s Bronkar Lee (left) and Aaron Williams will perform their drum-based show Jan. 12 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. (Moshe Levis)

Rhythms collide in percussion-based performance in Edmonds

Bronkar Lee and Aaron Williams wield numerous talents in the drum-based show Collision of Rhythm.

Beatboxing. Cajon drums. Tap dancing.

It’s all about the rhythm in the show Collision of Rhythm — described as a cross between Stomp, the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil — coming Jan. 12 to the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The show is put on by Bronkar Lee and Aaron Williams. The duo joined forces in 2013 with the idea of cross-pollinating various art forms with a beat.

“Rhythm is at the core, but it definitely expands beyond that — it’s a musical experience,” Lee said of the show. “We’re literally having conversations with different instruments.”

The multi-talented Lee and Williams like to keep it interesting. Each of them plays a variety of instruments, including the marimba, flute, harmonica, djembe, handpan, saxophone, piano and ukulele. They tap dance, beatbox, juggle and play body percussion on stage.

They like to mix and match their talents. For example, in one of their acts Lee beatboxes and juggles five balls on a kick drum while Williams uses four mallets to play the marimba.

The duo’s synchronicity on stage as they play different instruments is the underlying theme of the show.

“Everything in our life is rhythm and percussive, whether we’re walking, breathing, talking or doing business,” Lee said. “Not every human being is a musician, but it’s undeniable that every human being is musical at their core with biorhythms and heartbeats. There’s a connection there.”

Lee and Williams test that theory during their show. At one point, they’ll lead the audience in a rhythm exercise involving clapping and beatboxing. The rhythms start off simple and gradually become more and more complex.

“We start by clapping B-I-N-G-O because everybody knows it,” Lee said. “It’s a fundamental rhythm that we all learn in the West. We build that language together just like math, starting with subtraction and addition, then up to multiplication and division.”

Lee,of Atlanta, was a ringmaster for a circus that toured Europe before co-launching Collision of Rhythm. His beatboxing-while-juggling talents led to an appearance on Jay Leno’s “The Tonight Show” in 2012. He set a world record in 2013 for bouncing five balls for 1 hour and 15 minutes. A video of Lee beatboxing for his infant son went viral and has nearly 150 million views on Facebook.

Williams is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and teacher from Los Angeles. His tap dancing and percussion virtuoso skills landed him in a Coca Cola commercial that aired during a Super Bowl game, while his rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme song on marimba with four mallets has 4.6 million views on YouTube.

The two met on stage during an improvisational performance at a TEDxYouth@Hollywood event in 2013. Lee and Williams stayed in touch. They were so inspired by each other’s passion for all things music — especially their funky rhythms — that they decided to make a show of it.

Expect some more improvisation from Lee and Williams at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

“The show is alive,” Lee said. “We have a lot of moments in the show where we don’t know what we’re going to do.

“Then we do it.”

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427; ethompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

What: Collision of Rhythm

Where: Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds

When: 11 a.m. Jan. 12

Tickets: $10 for general admission, $2 Arts for Everyone discount

More: 425-275-9595 orwww.ec4arts.org

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