Japanese drums come to Hurst

Alex Trabold, Staff writer

On Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m., YAMATO: Drummers of Japan will be making a return to Mercyhurst’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.

This traditional Japanese ensemble features musician-athletes who perform using Taiko drums, traditional Japanese drums that are each made from a single piece of wood.

The drumbeat is believed to be connected to the heartbeat and the spirit.

The drums that these performers use in their shows each weigh anywhere from 10kg to 500kg, and the group travels with about 40 of them.

This group is critically acclaimed and is highly anticipated in its return to Mercyhurst.

Group founder and artistic director Masa Ogawa has said that energy is the hallmark of YAMATO’s performances, and that the groups likes to feed off of audience enthusiasm.

In a press released issued by Mercyhurst University, Ogawa is quoted as saying that “Everything related to YAMATO – the stage, the Taiko drums, every bit of our bodies – has been created from the energy and passion of the audience.”

“Audiences are overwhelmed by the beat of the music, as their spirits, bodies and heartbeats are uplifted in sync with the powerful sounds,” Ogawa said.

This feedback from the audience is what pushes the group to deliver performances.

This group has been dedicated since its inception to preserving and respecting Taiko tradition while also infusing it with originality and innovation.

In a break from the Taiko traditions, YAMATO has always included female members in its troupe.

Despite rigorous training and the stoic stereotype associated with this ancient art form, YAMATO shows joy and a sense of fun with everyone of their performances.

This performance is part of the troupe’s 26th season.

They have given 4,000 performances in 54 countries, performing for nearly 8 million audience members during this time.

The group also has a long history back in their home country of Japan.

YAMATO was founded in 1993 in Nara Prefecture in Japan.

It is based in Asuka Village, which is traditionally seen as the birthplace of Japanese culture.

When they are not on tour, YAMATO members live in the village, practicing and improving every aspect of their performance until the show begins.

The group attempts to follow tradition while still evolving to find new potential.

This troupe’s arrival presents an opportunity for students on campus to get a taste of different culture’s shows and music.

The Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture will host three more MIAC Live performances for the 2019-20 season following this concert.

For information about tickets, visit the box office in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Cen-ter or the MIAC website at miac.mercyhurst.edu.