Scotland’s Own Taiko Group at the Edinburgh Fringe

Taiko Drummers

Scotland’s own taiko group, Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers to perform at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe

Assembly George Square, 1st to 26th August 2013.
It is a little known fact that the leading European taiko drumming group is based right here in Central Scotland.

Tucked away in the South Lanarkshire countryside, Mugenkyo have created a haven of creativity, pushing the boundaries of taiko drumming with innovative new ideas, fusing the traditional taiko spirit with a modern image and sound, with dramatic lighting, theatricality & humour, and contemporary musical sensibility, captivating audiences the world over with their energetic and dynamic performances.

Mugenkyo return to the Fringe in 2013 with a brand new show, honed from years on the touring circuit. Since their previous sell-out Fringe runs a decade ago, Mugenkyo have developed their unique style still further, forging a new path in this art-form with their innovative approach.

Mugenkyo was originally established in 1994, and next year will celebrate their 20th anniversary year. As well as being at the forefront of the art-form on this continent, they are also well-respected in the birth-place of taiko, and as part of their 2012 tour of Japan, performed at “Extasia” as the only European taiko group ever to have been invited to play at this festival for the top professional groups in the art-form. Mugenkyo members come mainly from Scotland, but also from throughout the UK, Portugal, Germany & the USA.

As well as their extensive touring, Mugenkyo have just released their 4th CD “Eternal Return” and their 3rd DVD “Document Live”, making them the most artistically prolific taiko group outside of Japan. In addition to their main touring work at theatres and concert halls, Mugenkyo also perform at large-scale events and festivals at home and abroad, and have appeared on numerous television programmes such as the Brit Awards and BBC Last Night of the Proms. Mugenkyo push the boundaries of the art-form with their genre-crossing collaborations, most recently in the highly acclaimed “The World of the Gods” with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

In 2002 Mugenkyo established the first purpose-built centre for taiko drumming – the Mugen Taiko Dojo, set in rural South Lanarkshire, where they run workshops, classes, an in-house training programme, masterclasses for taiko groups, and outreach projects for all ages throughout the UK.

Mugenkyo Website: www.taiko.co.uk
Venue Website: www.assemblyfestival.com
Twitter: @MugenkyoTaiko
Facebook: facebook.com/Mugenkyo-Taiko-Drummers


PRESS REVIEWS:

“If ever there was a musical incarnation of raw physical power, Taiko drumming has to be it. Mugenkyo have brought their energetic Taiko performance to Edinburgh, receiving whoops of joy from its audiences. Taiko drumming is as much a physical spectacle as an aural one; the drummers use calculated, disciplined movements… Your whole body begins to reverberate as the soft patter of raindrops grows into a deep rumble. Just when you think it could not get any more powerful, it doubles in intensity. This show is not one to be missed.”
***** Edinburgh Evening News

“This latest show is something else. It is, unashamedly, drumming as theatre, but also drumming as an almost religious experience… exhilarating to behold. Even if you’ve seen them before, you’ll be gobsmacked.”
**** The Glasgow Herald

“Mugenkyo perform Taiko with manifest skill and awesome relentless energy. Having learned the ancient drumming techniques from Japanese master Kurumaya [Mugenkyo] showcases its musical presentation in totally modern style, making the esoteric thoroughly pop. Splendidly exploiting the theatrical potential of their intensely forceful drumming and mesmeric heat of the rhythm, they leap from drum to drum, dance around them with mini cymbals and handbells, and strike vivid gestures with choreographed force… Mugenkyo sustains its appeal right to the climax, winning thunderous applause.”
The Stage

“The members of Mugenkyo, Europe’s only professional Taiko drumming group, perform with what seems an unlikely combination of reckless abandon and metronome-like precision. Armed with wooden sticks, they whack their drums – which range from small, bowl-sized instruments to others the size of boulders – in a combination of synchronised movements reminiscent of tai chi. But there is nothing tai chi-like about the sound: a heady, relentless and rigid beat over which complex counter-rhythms are steadily added. From a soft pitter-pattering evocative of a slight rainfall to a thundering, eardrum-bursting shudder loud enough to wake the gods, these musicians display a remarkable control, with not a beat out of place anywhere.”
**** The Scotsman

LISTING INFORMATION
Venue: George Square Theatre – Assembly George Square
Time: 12.30 pm Running Time: 60 mins

Dates: 01 – 26 August. Previews 1 & 2 August, No shows Mon 12 & Mon 19 August
Tickets: Previews on 1-2 August £10 7-8, 13-15, 20-22, 26 August £13 (£10) 3-6, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 August £15 (£12)

Bookings: assemblyfestival.com, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at – Assembly Hall, Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square, Assembly Checkpoint

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