Friday, 11 May 2018

STAGE REVIEW : The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers


Established in 1994, Scottish based Mugenkyo is the longest-established professional taiko group in Europe. Japanese themes and Japanese culture have really impacted worldwide in recent times and this group have international reputation for introducing this distinctive Japanese art form to audiences across the continent. Educationally there's some cool opportunities on offer, the team run a variety of courses and workshops from their base and HQ. Keep in touch by following Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on Facebook 




REVIEW ****

The souls of the sextet who practice and perform this Japanese art form are totally encompassed by it. 

The performances display a level of technicality in regard to timing and coordination and are hugely energetic; each piece performed requiring sustained body stamina. The arm strength displayed to pound and angle strike using drum sticks with timpani type ends is challenging, or when chig-ga-chigging away using the tips, or the long length sides of sticks, or extended in length sticks, whichever the case-the talent is always impressive. Playing the giant drum in particular (due to its elevated positioning) is a skill not to be sneezed at. 

The drums are impressive looking instruments and the reverberating sound and the drum rhythms achieved really drive the pieces with real intensity. Reviewer enjoyed the modern composition, TODOROKI and its martial arts-inspired choreography and PHOENIX too (with gong strikes) which was the last on the night's programme performed prior to the encore. Fabulous!

The drum playing is the main attraction of course, but all the musicality in the show is spot-on. The masked performance of CHRONOS is one of the highlights. Though the effort to be entertainingly funny halfway through the second set does not add anything other than make the serious expressions, with faces set in concentration, be a little more personable. Something else that was spot-on however, is the sound quality; a real credit to the technical team at The Belgrade last night.

The scenery and effects are sharp and attentive. It would be hard not to enjoy such a display .Think Eastern Asian mystique and reverence, with Celtic influence, and off set it with Cozy Powell when he's Dancing with the Devil and you're some way in knowing what's in store.  



Review by Debra Hall, Theatre Critic - who attended the Mugenkyo concert at  The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry on 10 May 2018 7.30pm

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