An exhilarating, feet-tapping and mesmerising show by Yamato is being staged in the heart of London at Peacock Theatre and it’s one that cannot be missed …review by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International
This spring world-renowned Japanese taiko drumming troupe, Yamato, return to The Peacock from Tuesday 12 – Sunday 31 March 2019 for an evening of high-energy and thunderous performance with its newest work, Passion.
Led by artistic director Masa Ogawa, the work was created in 2018 and builds a kaleidoscope of sound through an assortment of enormous barrel-like Odaiko drums to cymbals, bamboo flutes and vocals.
Used in Shinto rituals, the Odaiko drums weigh over half a tonne each and are played by the troupe with ferocious and staggering strength to produce a heart-thumping torrent of music. Requiring exceptional skill and physicality, the drummers use their entire bodies to play and engage with audiences to create an explosive spectacle. This plethora of energy ignited by both the performers and audience, and the drummers’ daily commitment to rigorous training, forms the inspiration for their latest work, Passion.
The members of Yamato are collectively responsible for the creation of musical compositions, theatre production, lighting design, choreography and costume design, including the bachi (sticks) used to play the drums.
Yamato takes the ancient art of taiko drumming to bring it bang up-to-date to audiences far and wide. The group formed in 1993 and have since performed in 54 different countries, with over 3,500 performances, reaching almost 8 million people. In 2013, the company founded Yamato Taiko School based in the Netherlands where company members teach up to 20 taiko classes and 200 people a week.
Yamato premiered Passion in Milan in February ahead of its extensive tour which closes at The Peacock in end March 2019.
This show showcased a kind of music that was so uplifting … dozens of players started their performance by hitting a Japanese Taiko Drum that is often made from a large 400 year old fallen tree. The players created a powerful surge of energy that got audiences involved and the whole experience was immersive. All the acts were so fantastic that one was better than the other and kept raising its own bar high! It was one of those performances where sheer energy on stage met a spiritual high! It’s a must watch show and will make it a culturally rich outing to remember!
Yamato formed in 1993, where it debuted at a Shinto shrine festival in the troupe’s hometown with its original song ‘Hyu-ga’ (The Sunrise). 24 years later, Yamato has been invited to 54 countries around the world, playing more than 3,500 performances and attracting over 8 million viewers. The troupe is based in a village called Asuka, known as the birthplace of Japanese culture. Every year, the company takes part in a global tour for 6 – 10 months and among all of the performing artists in Japan, Yamato has given the highest number of international performances.
Aside from musical instruments, the members of the group live together in a community to create everything themselves. This is at the core of Yamato’s performances around the world as they use creativity to convert wadaiko into a performance art that can reverberate in Japan, Asia and the rest of the world.