Review: Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

Taiko Drummers

For those of you unfamiliar with ‘Taiko drumming’, essentially it is the practice of using traditional Japanese drums (such as those which would be used to accompany the Samurai as they marched into battle) in an ensemble performance, with different routines having different specific meanings and origins.

I have to say, as a percussionist with a lifelong fascination with all things Japanese, I don’t think I could have been more of a target market for this show if I tried.

The opening duet (Hachijo), whilst beautifully ritualistic and graceful, does slightly put you in the mind that what follows might be a tad more esoteric than you were expecting – these fears are quickly allayed however as the whole things springs to life in the second routine and barely lets up for a moment from then onwards.

The only slight criticism could be that, at times, the visual aspect of the show becomes a tad ‘samey’. Other drum based shows tend to feature dancing, singing or more audience participation to combat this. Mugenkyo, however, unapologetically do not – and I, for one, am very glad.

This show is purely about the drums and about the drummers. The stamina, dexterity and dynamism of the cast are frankly incredible. This, coupled with the ritualistic symbolism of the drums and routines themselves, fends off any hint of similarity breeding unrest amongst the audience – and the sporadic appearance by ‘The UV Ninjas’ doesn’t hurt either, a lovely touch for the kids. (including the big kids, like me)


Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers
Assembly George Square (Venue 3)
12.30pm until August 26th 2013

Book Tickets Here

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