FRINGE REVIEW – Tenchi Shinmei (St John’s Church)

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17 – 20 Aug (not 19)
1930-2030, St John’s Church

Although two-thirds of them don’t look it, taiko drum group Tokara are based in Japan.

Group leader Art Lee is the only non-Japanese drummer to win Tokyo’s prestigous Odaiko championships, and his skill shines in this performance in the beautiful surroundings of St John’s Church.

After a short explanation of the origins of taiko, Tokara proceed to fill the church with the heart-pounding rhythms of the Japanese drumming art. From the playful beats of energetic fast pieces to the mighty pounding of the giant ōdaiko drum, each piece is excellently performed by the trio and transfixes the packed audience filling the pews.

Tokara aim to take original classic Japanese drumming and add their own twist by presenting the pieces as songs: each with a structure, refrain, chorus and finale. This works well, and the rhythms they conjure up from the various-sized and pitched instruments they use is powerful, emotional and – most of all – joyous.

Ticket information is available on the Fringe website

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