This Israeli Cirque du Soleil drummer holds a Guinness World Record

Audiences have come to love Cirque du Soleil shows for their astounding acrobatic feats and clownish comedic interludes. But the music, which is performed live, plays a big role as well. Eden Bahar, a 31-year-old Israeli drummer, is part of the band for “Kooza,” one of the international company’s touring shows. It includes both traditional circus acts — think high wires and contortionists — and more modern ones, including the nail-biting Wheel of Death. Bahar, who grew up in Holon and Tel Aviv and holds a world record for most drumstick spins in one minute, spoke with J. this week about why he joined the circus.

Q. How did you get into drumming?

Bahar: My father is a pianist and producer, and my mom is a very musical person. Music was around me all the time. My father had a studio with a little set of drums, and I picked up the drums naturally. Even before I was able to talk or walk, I was already playing drums.

Q. You hold the Guinness World Record for most drumstick spins in one minute, which you set in 2018 with 149 spins. What inspired you to pursue that record?

I always strive to set goals for myself. The first record that I wanted to break was the longest time playing drums without sleeping or eating. But I saw that there was a drummer from India that did that for two and a half days, which was too much for me to even try to break. When I was looking for easier records to break, I came across this one — drumstick spins in one minute. But it wasn’t easy because they have very strict rules. I practiced for two years and had two failed attempts, and then the third attempt was the one that got me the title.

Q. When did you learn about Cirque du Soleil, and why did you want to be part of it?

When I was 8 years old, my father showed me a DVD of “Quidam.” I remember sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the DVD. It was a beautiful, beautiful show. Then when I was 14, my mom took me on a bar mitzvah trip to the Netherlands, where we saw together the show “Alegria.” That was the first time I saw Cirque live. It was a life changing experience for me. Fast forward, when I was 23, “Quidam” came to Tel Aviv, and through a mutual friend I met the drummer. He invited me to see the show and gave me a backstage tour. That was the moment I said to myself, I want to be here one day. It took me a few years of auditioning and a lot of determination but, finally, I’m here.

Q. How would you describe “Kooza?”

I’ve seen quite a few Cirque du Soleil shows in my life, and I still don’t know what the best word to describe “Kooza” is. But maybe the word is “Kooza.”

Q. What role does music play in the show?

A lot of circus shows don’t use live music, and I think that’s what makes Cirque du Soleil different. We’re playing live with a computer that’s basically a metronome. Our role is to support the action that’s onstage. Every show is different. They do different tricks, so we have to accommodate that musically. It always keeps us on our toes.

Q. Are there other Israelis involved with Cirque du Soleil?

I think at the moment there are four of us. One works in Montreal at the international headquarters. One is a juggler in “Bazzar.” She’s an amazing juggler. And the last one, she’s a guitar player in Vegas in the “Michael Jackson One” show.

Q. What is it like being part of such a large cast of performers from around the world?

We’re like a big family. We have people from 31 different nationalities in the show. I know everyone, and we’re all good friends. I can eat lunch with a friend from Mongolia, and then play backgammon with a friend from Russia, and then have a small talk with a friend from Mexico. We’re all just getting along fine.

Q. Has anyone asked you about the situation in Israel right now?

Yes, some people have shown interest and I appreciate it a lot. It’s really hard being far from home, but if I was there right now, there’s nothing I could do. I’d rather be here. And same for my parents. They’re happy that I’m here, playing music and making people happy.

{ SOURCE: The Jewish News of Northern California }