The ancient Japanese art of taiko drumming is energetic, dramatic and thunderous – and coming to the Lawrence Batley Theatre next month.
A performance by the UK’s first and only professional touring taiko group, Mugenkyo, promises an evening of astonishing athleticism and pounding, unforgettable rhythms.
Mugenkyo, which means ‘limitless reverberation’ or ‘sound everlasting’, is now one of the most widely-travelled taiko groups in Europe and attracted a host of five-star reviews at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It also performs regularly in Japan, where founder members Neil Mackie and Miyuki Williams lived and trained in the early 1990s. Mugenkyo has also appeared at Glastonbury Festival, on the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms and at concert venues all over the UK.
The group has an innovative approach to what is one of Japan’s most traditional musical art forms -–played at religious ceremonies, at shrines and in temples – and sees it as a performing art. As well as beating the cowhide drums, the performers play bamboo flutes and incorporate choreography, dramatic lighting, costumes and even masks into their show.
In 2002 the group established a centre for taiko drumming in the UK, based in rural Scotland, and undertakes educational outreach work in schools and with local authorities.
There are around 20,000 taiko groups in Japan but only about 50 in the whole of Europe, so the LBT concert on Tuesday, May 6, offers a rare opportunity to see, hear and feel a unique fusion of ancient oriental rhythms and contemporary sound.
Tickets are £18 and £16, from <a href = 'www.thelbt.org'>www.thelbt.org</a>, 01484 430528.