Sunday, May 23, 2010

“Beat and Wind” from Japanasia

Feb 20 2010
We saw this advertised just a few days before it happened – a special event organised by the Japanese Embassy. We didn’t have much information about it except the title, but as an avid fan of live Taiko (drumming) from Japan, we signed up for the bus that was going to it without hesitation. Bill hasn’t seen Taiko drumming before but was easily convinced he’d enjoy it.

The concert was quite different to what I’d expected – I thought it would be like a Kodo show (a hugely popular Taiko group in Japan) with lots of drumming on traditional taiko drums – in a very Japanese style. Although there were a few taiko, there wasn’t any of the size you’d see in Japan (I guess flying those big drums around the world isn’t that practical) and the music was less Japanese than Central Asian. However, despite this, it was still a fantastic concert that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Japanasia consisted of just three musicians – Ryutaro Kaneko was the leader & the taiko drummer, Yasukazu Kano played a Japanese flute –the shinobue and finally Haruhiko Saga played Central Asian “violins” and even did some throat singing!

After the opening act when all three performed, the most wonderful Angolan group came on stage – unfortunately I don’t know what they were called. They also did lots of drumming (and some singing & dancing) & were so spectacular that it was worth going out just to see them alone.

The whole night was superb – I found it a bit difficult to take photos with my sling but we’d been lucky (or cheeky) enough to get front row seats. Bill soon abandoned me & moved right up to the edge of the stage to take his photos!

There were a few speeches at the end (where I understood much more of the Japanese than the Portuguese translation) and then there were drinks & nibbles provided by the Japanese embasy. All in all, it was a fantastic evening that we thoroughly enjoyed.