I thought it might be fun to seek out the drums of Japan at this year's Fringe, and see if the magic was still alive.
The sign above is probably the understatement of the month!
The performance was called 'Advancement'. Good? Absolutely - five stars from me. How might I describe it. Accomplished, entertaining, energetic, fun, physical, .... taiko at its most powerful. These are the best young drummers in Japan. LOUD. And if you don't like sweat, then don't sit in the front row! At full blast, this is powerful stuff. I loved it.
Standing ovation. The performers came into the aisles at the end to thank the audience for coming along. Nice touch.
And this time, I DID buy the tee shirt!
Now, other Japanese drum performances are available. I did wonder if it was hazardous to health to take in two taiko shows in one day! But I had seen the next group before, and I knew how good they would be.
So it was to the rather posh Venue 43, the Space©Symposium Hall, a converted church in Hill Square. Samurai Drum IKKI have been in Edinburgh before. Formed in 2002 by Ikki Hino, the group comprises just four performers, the master himself and three female acolytes. But what quality!
The programme included 'Makoto', a solo by Ikki Hino on three Shime Taiko drums. Unbelievable. How does he DO that?
The website is here. You can find YouTube clips of Samurai Drum IKKI here, and here. But watching and listening to taiko on a laptop or computer hardly compares to hearing and experiencing the drums live.
Which performance did I enjoy more? Impossible to decide. Both excellent in different ways. I would go back and see both again. But there is more taiko to seek out this month in Edinburgh. And I look forward to that.
Photos © Skip Cottage except that of Tenrindaiko Seed on stage, which is from the group's website.