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A lot more than just rhythm

Staff Reporter

Japanese ensemble Oedo Sukeroku Taiko demonstrates `Wadakio'



SMASHING START: Japanese drummers demonstrate their style here on Tuesday. — PHOTO: N. SRIDHARAN

CHENNAI: The performance was not just about rhythm. What started as swift hand movements gradually morphed into a graceful dance number, providing an interesting audio-visual treat to presspersons gathered at the Music Academy on Tuesday.

The crisp, seven-minute Wadakio (Japanese drum concert) demonstration by Japanese ensemble Oedo Sukeroku Taiko was an intriguing prelude to the show scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Six huge drums made of Oak tree wood and animal skin were placed on the stage and the six drummers systematically shifted from one to another, playing different passages in quick succession. The seamless transition and coordination left the listener spellbound.

Head of the group Masamichi Kobayashi has developed a unique style of playing the drums, combining conventional techniques, Japanese music and kakegoe (shouting).

The shouting helps measure duration of pauses between two beats and enlivens the recital, the artistes said.

Mr. Kobayashi said his style was influenced by traditional Japanese theatre (Noh and Kabuki). The drummers who played along had trained for 15 years to master this style. Wednesday's concert, which will be inaugurated by Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, marks the launch of the Japan-India friendship year in south India.

The concert is also being held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Exchange Agreement between Indian and Japan.

Jointly organised by the Consulate-General of Japan in Chennai, the Japan Foundation, the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and ABK-AOTS Dosokai, Tamil Nadu centre, the programme will be held at 6.30 p.m. at the Music Academy on Wednesday and Thursday. Admission is free.

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