Downtown, we decided to go off the beaten path towards a side street. Adventure paid off. We were pleasantly surprised by a Music, Arts & Wine Festival. Best of all, we were treated to the throbbing rhythms of Japanese Taiko drumming!
(I was far away for all these photos and didn't have my higher quality zoom lens with me.)
Have you ever felt the intensity of Taiko? It is not just about primal rhythms. It is a choreographed dance, struck in a deep lunge with arms in unison and occasional circling of the drums.
|This lady in the middle was always smiling|
contrary to the intense looks everyone else had
I was surprised to see not only many non-Japanese among the performers, but also the number of female drummers. This is actually common among professional taiko ensembles. No simpering geishas here.
|The lady in the back was the Emcee and she was also calling out martial instructions to the ensemble|
Taiko used to be employed in feudal Japan as a battlefield instrument to intimidate the enemy and boom out marching cadence. Recent Taiko ensembles have a slightly different origin. A Japanese jazz drummer, Daihachi Oguchi, discovered old taiko music and decided to jazz it up back in 1951. Thus was born the first Taiko drum ensemble.
The high energy beat at the Festival was so infectious that people were not only bobbing to the rhythm. I saw one onlooker break-dancing! You'll understand what I mean if you view this YouTube video of the Yamato ensemble during a performance. Wild! I dare you to sit still.
So I end my weekend on a pulsating note. I hope yours was lovely. Let me know what you think of the Taiko drum beat :-)