NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!
Powerful, spell binding and infectious; the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers are touring the UK this spring. As the most successful touring taiko drum group on this continent, Mugenkyo have developed a spectacular passionate style with music for the soul, fusing the traditional spirit with a contemporary look & sound, creating a modern stage performance that has captivated audiences everywhere.
Taiko drums are unique to Japan and drumming has been an important part of the country’s history for centuries. These magnificent drums are traditionally played in temples and shrines during religious festivals and ceremonies, and are a traditional accompanying sound to warfare. It has only been in the last 40 years that taiko drums have been bought to stage, and Mugenkyo is the UK’s longest established drumming ensemble. One of the most memorable taiko drums is the O-daiko, which is so big it permanently resides in the shrine or temple. It takes great endurance to play this powerful instrument. The smaller byō-uchi-daiko is made from a hollowed out piece of wood and shime-daiko have heads sewn on to iron rings which are then laced to each other around the drum body. The shime daiko can be tuned by tightening the rope but the byō-uchi-daiko is defined by the diameter of the tree they are made from.
Mugenkyo forge a new path for taiko drumming and present it as a modern performing art complete with dramatic lightning, choreography and costumes. They are touring England and Scotland this May, so find out if they are coming to a city near you and book some tickets! You won’t be disappointed.
Wednesday 1 May: Hamilton, Town Hall
Thursday 2 May: Aberdeen, Music Hall
Friday 3 May: Ayr, Town Hall
Saturday 4 May: Arbroath, Webster Memorial Theatre
Tuesday 7 May: Bolton, The Albert Halls
Wednesday 8 May: Leicester, De Montford Hall
Thursday 9 May: Birmingham, Town Hall
Friday 10 May: Weston Super Mare, The Playhouse
Saturday 11 May: Ilfracombe, The Landmark Theatre
Sunday 12 May: Exmouth, The Pavilion
Tuesday 14 May: Neath, Gwyn Hall
Wednesday 15 May: Taunton, The Brewhouse
Thursday 16 May: Portsmouth, Kings Theatre
Friday 17 May: Horsham, The Capitol
Saturday 18 May: Leamington Spa, Royal Spa Centre
Sunday 19 May: Welwyn Garden City, Hawthorne Theatre
Tuesday 21 May: Derby, Assembly Rooms
Wednesday 22 May: Halifax, Victoria Theatre
Thursday 23 May: Stockport, The Plaza
Friday 24 May: Lytham St Annes, Lowther Pavilion
Need more convincing? Just watch this video…
If you’re around Glasgow or Edinburgh, you can even head over to the Mugen Taiko Dojo and take part in one of their workshops!
If you happen to be living down south (like me), you may need to take a trip and have a night out with friends! With any luck, I’ll be able to make one of the performances and blog about it!
Photo credits to taiko.co.uk