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Posted On: 1 February 2012 06:05 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:11 pm

From Japan with a Taiko big bang

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Eitetsu Hayashi, the internationally-acclaimed Japanese Taiko drummer who is described as one of Japan’s foremost living cultural assets, will perform in Qatar on February 22-23. The performances are part of Qatar Japan 2012, a celebration of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. The shows are being hosted by the Japanese embassy, the Japan Foundation and Katara, Qatar’s Cultural Village, at Katara Drama Theatre in Building 16. Hayashi, 60, has been performing across the world for over four decades. He is a founder and lead performer of internationally-renowned groups Sado-Ondekoza (The Demon Drummers of Japan) and Kodo. The master drummer is credited with developing a unique and emotive O-Daiko (big drum) solo style, which leaps beyond traditional Taiko drum performances in technique, physical stamina and expressive range. His performances have been credited with bringing a musical fulfilment that can surpass that of a full orchestra - ranging from serene tranquillity to the rhythmic, roaring thunder created by his giant 300kg O-Daiko drum. Hayashi was born in Hiroshima in 1952 where he grew up in a Buddhist temple, hearing his father’s daily recitation of the sutras. At 19, he was playing drums in a western band and in 1971, became a founder of Sado-Ondekoza renowned for its 60km daily marathon runs and training sessions in freezing conditions. Hayashi has taken his art beyond the traditional techniques of Japanese drumming and created a new style of solo drumming requiring unprecedented levels of virtuosity and physical prowess, while also developing new performance styles such as setting up an array of drums of different types and sizes that he plays solo like a drum set. In these ways he has pioneered a new realm of music by freeing the drum of its tradition role of percussion accompaniment and bringing new life to it as a contemporary solo instrument. He performs works of his own composition, such as a series inspired by the lives of artists that have influenced him, including the photographic artist Man Ray and the 18th century Japanese painter Ito Jakuchu. Hayashi is also known for his collaborations with a variety of musicians and artists he respects, ranging from jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita to the late world-renowned model and performer Sayoko Yamaguchi. The artiste has performed sell out concerts worldwide including the Boston Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s under the baton of world’s leading conductors Seiji Ozawa and Kent Nagano. He is also the first Taiko soloist to have performed at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Hall. The drummer’s legacy has inspired a Taiko revival in Japan where more than 4,000 groups now exist and the new generation of rap enthusiasts are taught Taiko in schools so they can pass on the sounds of Japanese folk and imperial court music in a contemporary way. Hayashi has been quoted as saying that each beat of the drum has to go deep. “It has to arouse in the audience a boundless feeling, stretching back through time. What I am pursuing is a sound that embodies Nature, one that is both awe-inspiring yet serene.” Gulf Times