Travelers of Both Time and Space: These Kids Rock Kashmir

Louisville Leopard Percussionists logo

We may not admit it, but we all do it. Go ahead and say it: “I watch tons of those cute Youtube videos.” You know the ones: kittens swatting pit bulls on the nose; puppies doing tail spins on throw rugs; and baby goats – well, doing just about anything.

Facebook is teeming with these treacly time wasters, and we love ‘em. But up to this point, none of these vids have made it into our blog.


But from the Let’s Just Do Something Different Department comes a fantastic first: a bunch of 7-14 year-old kids playing excellent covers of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, The Ocean, and Immigrant Song … on xylophones and marimbas! Oh yeah!

We have two versions of this fabulous performance by the Louisville Leopard Percussionists. The first is a stage performance at a TEDx (yes that TED) conference, and the second is in the band’s practice room. Both are excellent, but the practice room version lets a bit more of each kid’s ‘tude shine through.

The thing we love most about this performance is that in addition to being cute, these talented kids totally rock Led Zep. So much so, that legendary Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page put the video on his Facebook page, where he says: “Too good not to share. Have a rocking weekend!” Not bad eh?

Young Louisville-Leopards

According to the LLP website:

“The Louisville Leopard Percussionists are a performing ensemble comprised of 60+ student musicians ages 7-14, who reside in 26 different Louisville zip codes and attend 48 different schools in and around Louisville, Kentucky.

Our vision is for participants of diverse backgrounds to develop music appreciation, performance skills, proficiency on a variety of percussion instruments, and learn to improvise, compose, and teach music, and to care for their instruments. These skills build creativity and self-confidence and teach life-long values of personal discipline, cooperation, leadership, responsibility, and community.”

A Study in Concentration

Hats off to Diane Downs, founder and artistic director, and her team for the wonderful contribution this program makes to the community, and rock on kids.

Happy Trails,
James & Terri

Louisville-Leopards Drums

Photo Credits:
1,2,4. Louisville Leopard Percussionists
3,5. Nik Vechery of Leo Weekly


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

40 thoughts

  1. Awesome! And that drummer is amazing, but I especially enjoyed the stoic little girl in the coat with the bright pink lining who every now and then would beat the shit out of the cymbal!

    1. Alison, I definitely prefer the practice room version. For me, a big part of the charm of the video is watching the kids and their individual performances. I also like the drummer in the back right corner. She’s tearing those drums up!! ~James

    1. Anita, the minute I saw this video I knew I was going to do a post on it. It’s cool for so many reasons. The diversity in this group is wonderful, and their focus and enthusiasm is great to see. Big kudos to the adult staff for starting such a fun and beneficial program. ~James

    1. Catherine, I’m also a big fan of “Kashmir.” I particularly like the version on “No Quarter.” In fact, there isn’t a bad song on this whole CD. The thing that impressed me about the kids’ performance is that, if you know the original music well, they do a very close cover and it sounds spot on. Jimmy Page said it best: “Too good not to share.” ~James

  2. I see where their mission includes learning ‘… to care for their instruments.’ I would imagine so. Those xylophones probably cost over $3k apiece. It’s great these kids get the opportunity to learn and appreciate skills that will last them a lifetime. Plus, their self-esteem must soar after having achieved such notoriety and fame. Thanks for sharing! – Mike

    1. I agree with each of your points Mike, and would add what a wonderfully diverse group they are and what a fantastic life lesson their camaraderie must be. I’ve always loved “Kashmir,” but have never really thought of it as a fun song. The Louisville Leopards have changed that. ~James

  3. What amazingly talented children they are! Loved all their music! We had a similar experience when we were in Ashland, OR last summer. We listened to the joyful music of Zimbabwe performed by Sonic Kaleidoscope….excellent!

    1. Thanks LuAnn. When I think of performances by young kids, the first thing that comes to mind is the stereotype of parents at a music recital – smiling and proud, but inwardly wincing at the sour notes. Well there’s non of that here, and these talented kids as well as their adult instructors are to be congratulated. ~James

  4. Looks colorful and fun! I’ll have to watch the videos on my new computer one day, since my current one does not have sound. 😦 I love musical pieces that show harmony and instill happiness. Thanks for sharing.

    Liesbet @ Roaming About

    1. Thanks Liesbet. I’m sure these kids don’t really appreciate the musical selection, but I’m sure the music keeps the donations coming in from Baby Boomer supporters. ~James

    1. Gilda, Kashmir is certainly an unusual song selection for kids of this age, but when I saw the video, I knew that I’d have to post it. Very cool for so many reasons. ~James

  5. I love the ‘But from the Let’s Just Do Something Different Department’. How fun is that? Love to see kids learning in different ways. Puts a smile on my face for having watched them.

    1. Sue, I’m sure that you have these moments like me where you see something whether traveling or not, and you say “I’m definitely going to write a post on this!” That was exactly what I said when I saw this video. I have a few of these kinds of posts (as yet unwritten) in my file. I really like these posts because they’re different and fun to write. And this one has the added benefit of being big smile-inducing. ~James

    1. Joanne, these kids are great and what a motley crew. I prefer the practice room version for all the individual personalities that it shows. The little boy on the right with the black hat and the drummer in back are a hoot to watch. ~James

  6. There’s nothing more satisfying than being part of a group — music, drama, sports — that suddenly begins to jell, and to produce. You can see it in the kids: pride, skill, self-satisfaction, confidence. Gosh, what wonderful videso. And yes, the diversity is wonderful, too. Heaven knows the big people of the world (in every sense of the word) would do well to watch this — repeatedly.

    1. Well said Linda. Programs like this are win-win all around. I’m not a musician, but even though this song sounds repetitious, it’s actually a complex piece to play, and these dedicated kids must have spent lots of time in the practice room, and it shows. I also love that Jimmy Page put it on his Facebook page – which gained him lots of points in my book. He’s a mega-star who still recognizes how much work it takes to make good music. ~James

  7. I’m too short of time for YouTube & all, but I do follow blogs, including yours :), and I’m afraid you might have introduced me to a very addictive type of pleasure: the music’s lovely and the kids are a delight!

    1. Bea, when it comes to fun, positive diversions, I’m glad to be the bad influence in your life. I love this video for the focus and talent of the kids, their individuality, and the choice of music. It’s one of a kind. ~James

  8. Jim…such a very creative and fun departure from all the humdrum of traveling the world!! So cool to see young folks doing something…especially something that I’ve never been able to do.

    1. Thanks BF. As a blogger I’m sure that you can relate to the struggle to sometimes come up with post ideas. And for me, it’s such a pleasure to see something and say to myself: “I’m definitely going to write a post about this!” Well these kids and this program are wonderful, and it didn’t hurt that they were playing some nice old tunes. Travel or no, it was just too cool not to write about. ~James

      1. James
        Yeah, sometimes change is a very good thing. Even if I’m traveling, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to write about. It’s these kinds of things that make life and blogs worth looking at! Keep on keeping on…where are you now anyway?

      2. BF, Terri and I are at home in Lexington, Kentucky: horse and bourbon capital of the world. BTW, watch this space for a few posts on thoroughbred horses and racing. ~James

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