A masked figure, all in white, carries the biggest drumstick you’ve ever seen and drops it on the biggest drum you’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing is basically a tree. Boom! And again. Boom! Then the beat develops. The figure controls this gigantic log and masters the beast of this humongous drum. This is
At one point he pounds the drum so hard it shatters the drumstick into pieces. Not that he lets that stop him
Drums! All the drums! Big drums, small drums, medium size drums, lots of drums! “Powerful like a dragon, supple like a dancer” is the sexy tagline provided for Japanese Taiko drummer powerhouse Kensaku Sato, performer at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, and mesmeric solo performer at this year’s Fringe. And it’s a pretty apt description, Sato is a beast on the drums and man can he move. At one point he pounds the drum so hard it shatters the drumstick into pieces. Not that he lets that stop him. He keeps the beat and immediately has another stick in hand; hashtag, pro.
There’s also dance and song accompanying the drumming and also juggling: actual juggling with drum sticks while still managing to keep in time and also build up to a crescendo. And if that wasn’t enough, great costumes, beautiful lighting and an accompanying soundscape of chimes add to the mysticism of the event, making for a solid hour of Japanese drumming entertainment. The repetitive nature of the show means it’s hard to stay transfixed throughout, but that shouldn’t seriously impact your enjoyment.
If Japanese drum is your thing, or drumming in general, or if you just fancy something a little culturally different then give this a try. It’s a very good way to spend an hour in the afternoon.