Magic Drum Orchestra

Magic Drum Orchestra encompasses a 20-piece percussion group, formed by Ralph Cree and Glyn Bush (aka BiggaBush) back in 2005. Created while joining forces for Glyn’s ‘Lightning Head’ project, released on Berlin’s Sonar Kollectiv, the duo combined their passion and mastery, carefully assembling a samba band. Weekly sessions in Ralph’s garage soon became the practice grounds with friends and their drumming workshop, forming the extraordinary Magic Drum Orchestra.

The MDO’s unique sounds originate from a variety of sources including extensive musical influences including Batucada, Samba, Afrobeat and modern funk, hip hop and dubstep. Fusing Brazilian music and heavy percussion with their love of modern dance beats creates a truly captivating and distinctive sound. As well as their own material, irresistible dance-filled percussive covers of Snoop Dogg & Pharrell’s ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ and Benga’s Dub Step anthem ‘Crunked Up’ highlight the talent of Magic Drum Orchestra and their ability to entice audiences and entertain.

While working on the MDO, separate projects have seen Glyn and Ralph rise in numerous musical areas, influencing the MDO’s music further. With multi-instrumentalist, Ralph, specialising in percussion and an extensive knowledge of African, Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, and Glyn’s musical career and involvement in a variety of bands and projects, MDO blends a refreshing mix of styles that has advanced over time. Glyn’s projects include the house, dun and trip-hop band, ‘Rockers Hi-Fi’ with Richard ‘DJ Dick’ Whittingham. After releasing their anticipated album ‘Rockers to Rockers’, which triggered substantial interest from London labels and landed the electronic-dub duo a deal with Island Records.

By 1994, Rockers Hi-Fi interest had spread to mainland Europe, leading to an enthused MD of Warner Brothers Germany offering them a new record deal. Three albums later, and their critical DJ Kicks Black Album DJ mix on K7, Rockers Hi-Fi had gained quite a following. Including; Kruder & Dorfmeister, along with US tastemakers Thievery Corporation and Jason Bentley (KCRW radio, LA) supporting them. Highly in demand and exploring their trademark bass beats further, Rockers remixed tracks by Sly & Robbie, Ella Fitzgerald, Saint Etienne, Richard Dorfmeister’s Tosca and many more. Their acclaim didn’t stop there, with tracks featuring in the 1995 film ‘The Basketball Diaries’, 2000’s ‘Traffic’ starring Michael Douglas and the hit TV programme, ‘The O.C’.

Following Rockers Hi-Fi’s success, Glyn began concentrating on his own productions, seizing a deal with German label Stereo Deluxe in 2004, and continuing to remix tracks for the likes of Swayzak, Mark Rae, Fat Freddy’s DJ Fitchie and collaborated with Fela Kuti’s drummer, Tony Allen, leading to the 2008 album, ’13 Faces of Lightning Head’, supported by Gilles Peterson.

Building on the Magic Drum Orchestra’s previous releases such as ‘MDO Sessions 1’, which was timed to soundtrack the World Cup taking place in Brazil in 2014, and ‘MDO Session 2’, in 2018 Glyn released Magic Drum Orchestra’s ‘The DNA of Rhythm’. The album was an exciting multi-genre release featuring standout reworks of Kendrick Lamar and Shy FX & UK Apachi alongside innovative original tracks which set a new narrative for beat making and strip back to the raw ingredients. In 2020 MDO’s irresistible dance-filled percussive rework of the ragga-jungle classic “Original Nuttah” was given a rework by Hungarian Peter Simon aka DJ Madd, the lead-track from MDO’s remix EP “100 Whites A Day”.

Magic Drum Orchestra has garnered support from tastemakers such as Lefto, BBC 6 Music’s Don Letts, Gilles Peterson, Tom Robison and Huey Morgan, Clive Anderson (BBC Radio 4), Nick Luscombe (BBC Radio 3) and KCRW’s Garth Trinidad. Their samba-infused dance beats have also seen syncs in Vice Principals on HBO and placement in Google and Nike ads.

With over 100 people estimated to have passed through the group over the years, and various festival appearances including; the Main Stage of the Big Chill in front of 20,000 people, MDO brings a unique listening experience…

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“This is heat as expected.. Just great!”

Jeremy Sole (KCRW)

“Exciting and invigorating!”

Nick Luscombe (BBC Radio 3)

“Putting more fun(k) back into genuine musicality”

DJ Mag