Asia is home to a wide array of diverse cultures and traditions of art, literature and music.
Especially when it comes to the field of music, countries like Japan have many different musical practices to offer.
One of the most important musical cultures of Japan is the art of drumming.
Unlike the modern drum sets we see at every rock band, this performance is different.
The Japanese have a broad range of classic percussion instruments called the Taiko, and they range from wooden barrel drums to gongs. Outside Japan, however, Taiko is a term used to describe the form of the ensemble performing Japanese drums, which in Japan, is specifically called kumi-daiko.
The Taiko drumming ensemble culture started in 1951 after Daihachi Oguchi led the spread of the culture outside Japan.
Nowadays, kumi-daiko performances are not limited to Japan anymore—the culture has spread around the world, specifically to the US, Europe and Australia.
If you’re wondering what a Taiko show looks like, watch this ensemble’s thunderous performance!
A group of students from the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music formed a Japanese drumming ensemble and performed a piece at the Senzoku Gakuen Maeda Hall during the Percussion Ensemble 35th Anniversary Concert on December 2014.
They played the classic Taiko piece by the 1950s Taiko musician Eitetsu Hayashi called “The Fertility of The Sea.”
As the video begins, you can see three rows of performers each using a different type of Taiko drum.
Each performer held two long drumsticks and they were all carefully arranged to stand between the barrel drums. In each of their positions, they could freely hit the drums while standing side-by-side.
The kuri-daiko performers ruled the halls with the sound of their drums!
The group kicked off with a simple one-two rhythm until they slowly transitioned to a quiet drum roll that kept getting louder and louder by the second. After the 35-second long intro, the ensemble moved on to the first movement of the song. With amazing precision and focus, all the performers were in sync with each other as they swayed their bodies to the beating of their drums. It was like looking at a collaboration of drumming, martial arts and dance!
Past the three-minute mark, the drumming turned silent.
The audience can only hear faint drum beats as if the drumming was coming from a distance. As the performers did their choreographed arm movements, the drums’ tempo and volume gradually increased until a series of thunderous beats roared out their drums.
The 10-minute Taiko performance ended with a spectacular bang!
As the show goes on, the ensemble keeps playing with increasing intensity.
At some point, they start to hit the drums furiously while gracefully performing their synchronized choreography.
Near the end of their performance, they began mixing loud chants and yells along with their fierce drumming.
Until the end, the ensemble remained to give a seamless performance no matter how fast and loud they were hitting their drums. It’s hard to imagine how much practice they must have put in to achieve this level of perfection!
The ensemble ended the show with one final yell and raised their drumsticks to signify curtain call.
Listening to their performance is so exhilarating!
Some people even claimed that they could imagine themselves in an ancient war zone as they listened to the song! Kudos to this music school and to their talented Taiko ensemble for bringing the world this epic performance.
Watch the full thing in the link below:
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