YAMATO is a Japanese Taiko drumming group based in Asuka-mura Nara Prefecture which is well known by Japanese people as the hometown of Japan. They call themselves “YAMATO, the Taiko drumming group that travels all over the world”. They have given more than 4,000 shows across 54 countries since their formation in 1993. YAMATO’s Taiko work cannot be fully described by the word “performance”. Their motto is “We go everywhere when somebody needs YAMATO! And bringing energy to the people living in the world!”. On stage, they are standing with more than 40 Taiko drums and all of them are having different characters. For example, their largest drum called “Odaiko”, produced from a huge tree over 400 years old, is approximately two meters in diameter and weighs 500 kg. All other Taiko drums are different sizes and have different sounds. The members of the group have trained their bodies to the limit to beat these massive Taiko drums. The acoustic pressure far surpasses what one could ever imagine. They do not simply make their Taiko drums explode with sound; they produce delicate music that provides the listener with a palette of meticulously crafted sound. This is why YAMATO’s original performances are known as “Physical music”, and continue to receive high acclaim globally. YAMATO is sometimes intense, sometimes sad, sometimes comforting, and in the next moment comical on stage. The audience is more than a group of bystanders, they are engulfed in the sound of the Taiko, and sweat, cry, and laugh and become one with the performers. All types of people gather around the sound of the Taiko, interweaving their lives, and feeling the power of each other’s inner passion and heart.
I had the honor of discussing the upcoming event on April 2 at the Overture Center with the founder and artistic director, Masa Ogawa, when Yamato – the Drummer of Japan come to share energy with Madison. We get into what this audience can expect when they present the World Tour 2023-2024 「火の鳥」”Hinotori” – The wings of Phoenix. Masa does a beautiful job reflecting on how the group and audience share in the created moments of energy and how the travels around the globe help to gain new energies to share with others at the next stop on the journey. We talk about the give back that YAMATO believes in, sharing knowledge that was shared with them and pass it on to the next generations as both a group and as individuals as well as what music he is currently listening to and well…baseball. There is not many “shows’ lie a Taiko drumming “show”, the formation of new lands discovered together in a moment in time is marked with a lifetime of felt emotions and new rhythms to walk the days with.