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Press Release



November 29, 2010

Percussion Ensemble Uses Shadow and Light to Make Music


MythsTemporal Mechanics Union, the percussion ensemble resident at Cowley College, invites the audience on a journey of shadow and light, sound and imagination, as they present the premiere performance of The Myths of Bharam Chak. This work for percussion theatre incorporates microtonal music and shadow puppets to delve into a dream world filled with goddesses, warriors, dragons and a brave little monkey. The concert is Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert Brown Theatre at Cowley College. Admission is free and open to the public.

“Bharam Chak is a fictional place,” says Chris Mayer, musical director of the ensemble. “It’s a creative environment for TMU’s musical experiments. We can go in any musical direction possible in this setting.”

 TMU will tell the story of 14 Copper Monkey, who must go on a quest to set things right in his world. This kind of story will be instantly familiar to those versed in mythology, and readers of fantasy works like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Mayer based the lead character’s name on historical and mythological names of the classical Maya culture. 14 Copper Monkey and the other of the inhabitants of his world will be portrayed by shadow puppets created by Cowley College art students under the direction of faculty member and TMU performer Mike Fell. The members of TMU performed the shadow puppet play to make the video that will be seen in the concert, as they perform the accompanying music.

The program also includes traditional African rhythms, structured improvisation pieces, and a work entitled Just Another Overture.

“The opening piece on a program can often be the hardest to set,” says Mayer, “So we’re going for laughs on this one. I think the audience will get a kick out of it.” 

The concert also includes the debut performance of Concerto for Unprepared Percussionist, which will feature a surprise guest artist.

This is the third concert to feature the ensemble’s new self-built microtonal instruments. Microtones refer to specific pitches found “in-between” the black and white keys of a conventional piano. TMU uses a tuning system called 31 EDO, or 31 equal division of the octave, for a total of 31 pitches between one C and another on the keyboard.  So far as their research has shown, TMU is the only percussion ensemble in the United States to specialize in this tuning system.

Temporal Mechanics Union is an all-ability, community based ensemble. Anyone may join, no matter what his or her previous musical experience. More information on this concert, and on the ensemble, can be found at, or by calling 620-441-5229. TMU also have a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. The members of Temporal Mechanics Union are Wayne Farley, Mike Fell, Bryan McChesney and Josh Waldorf.