Asano Beat - Chapter 2 "Fragrance"

Last Saturday I attended the second monthly concert given at the Asano Taiko museum. (The debut of the monthly concerts I wrote about last month here) Last month's concert was titled 月のしずく, something like "drips of moon". This month was called 香 or "Fragrance". The performers were, once again, Hono Taiko, Kazusa Okazaki of Hikari and a guest flute player, Mr. Yagi (sorry, I can't read his first name).

Each piece for this concert was intended to express a fragrance of nature. The evening began in similar fashion to last month, with the lights going down and images of nature being projected onto the large Odaiko (pictured at the start of this post) accompanied by soft, ambient music. I even thought that I smelled some type aromatic fragrance in the air as the concert was starting. The first, by Hono Taiko, song was slow and soft. It used taiko drums along with a few keys (?) of a Gamelan xylophone. This piece was expressing the fragrance of the moon. A bamboo flute (shinobue, not shakuhachi) performance followed which represented the fragrance of the forest. Next, the sound of thunder came over the sound system and what followed was a piece played on Odaiko along with two shime taiko, symbolizing thunder and rain (this was my favorite piece of the evening) representing, of course, the fragrance of rain. Next we heard the a unique bamboo flute and taiko piece representing the fragrance of the wind. The flute used in this piece was designed and made by Mr. Yagi (the performer). It was about a 5 foot piece of bamboo, which he played horizontally and it had a deep, rich sound. He was accompanied by Jige san and Kinoshita san of Hono Taiko.

We then had an interlude with some comments from Jige san, who is always interesting to listen to. She joked around with Mr. Yagi about how he could use his unique bamboo flute to hang his laundry. She kept talking and talking and talking until finally, Yamada san and Okazaki san, who had been on stand-by for the next piece for several minutes, made it very obvious (in a humorous way) that it was time to stop talking and move on to the next piece. (All part of the show, I think, but amusing, nonetheless).

The last two pieces were not associated with any type of fragrance. First we heard Raigun (雷郡) played by Yamada san (Hono Taiko) and Okazaki san (Hikari). This is the same song Yamada sensei taught JIGEN, a group I am in, for the Asano recital last October (2008), but we played it with 9 people and they only had two for this performance. They had lined up about eight drums across the stage. There were shime taiko on either end, and then different sized Oke taiko meeting in the middle. They used all the drums to cover the three different parts between the two of them. It was interesting to see how they did it.

The last piece was performed by Hono Taiko and was called "Tomoe" 巴. Tomoe the symbol that we would probably call "yin-yang" and in taiko, you often see three of these yin-yang shapes, which is called a mitsudomoe. Anyways, it was a pretty exciting and energetic song.

The finale was the same as last month, with Kinoshita san playing shamisen, Jige san singing while playing a hand-played taiko, Yamada san and Okazaki san on taiko and Yagi san's flute playing.

Once again, it was a wonderfully produced program, very enjoyable to watch, only about a hundred people came to watch, making it very personal. This time my parents, who are visiting, were able to attend the concert with us. They have seen world re known groups like Yamato and Kodo several times, but I think they particularly enjoyed being so close to the drums and being able to see the energy and passion of the players in such close proximity. My dad even said, "That was the best taiko I have ever seen!". My daughter also came with us, and enjoyed the first half, but fell asleep for the second half.

On the way out, my parents were able to take photo with Hono Taiko and Yagi san, the flute player.

It was another great concert and I can't wait until next month's. It is April 26th.

1 comment:

Midori said...

Oh! How I wish we had this kind of concerts here in Argentina! Must be so exciting!!