Thursday, 2 October 2014

Whacking the Wadaiko

Wadaiko are tradional japanese drums and come in many shapes and sizes.
Tamburi Taiko - Wadaiko Shien
You get school bands that use them and they appear in every festival and parade. There are even arcade game versions.
There it is!
Last night I had the chance to attend a lesson and concert from a group called Wadaiko Sai (the link is to their japanese website and includes videos of them playing). It was awesome! The group leader explained various things about the drums (most of which sadly passed me by as it was in japanese - who'd have thought?) before calling on volunteers to come and try playing them. I was with a complete mix of nationalities as this was a event and got noticeably British in my reticence to go on stage, contrasted with my bouncing about in my seat with excitement at it all. I eventually got volunteered by the guy on my right, who was a solar engineer from India, and went up in the third and final group. I was the last one to climb on stage and was presented with the mahoosive drum mounted on its own frame which no one else had played up til then. It was just so huge I couldn't stop laughing. Behold the Byrne in strangely flat faced profile in the background of this photo!
Me in Profile Playing the Big Drum
This one puts the size of the drum in context.
Me in the Wadaiko Line Up
It was the Big Daddy of drums. But before I got my turn there were some terribly cute little drummers who had a go.
Little Wadaiko Player
The little one more or less hidden behind the drum in this one was eventually given a chair to stand on.
Old Lady Playing Wadaiko
The elderly lady is laughing because she had just been told off by the musicians for being too keen and energetic as she started drumming before he said 'go'!

The concert itself was played by the five guys there who had the most amazingly toned arms I've ever seen. Photos were not allowed so I can't share, but they didn't just sit about and whack them with sticks. There was real dynamism in their performance and at one point four of them were lined up with drums in front of them and were playing each others drums and rippling the strikes back and forth along the line - it's hard to describe but it really was amazing. And quite sexy, as a french neuro-surgeon, also part of my eclectic group of watchers, put it in his equally sexy accent. As I told the Meetup's organiser afterwards, it is so brilliant to have the opportunity to come along to these things - especially as a government grant meant we had got in free. I am getting better at using google translate to google for things in japanese but I still mostly search for events in english and never would have found out about this one without the meetup group.

By the by...don't these soldiers also have the same profile as me?
Odo bayeux tapestry.png
"Odo bayeux tapestry". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Never occurred to me until I saw that photo of Drummer Byrne. I never knew my forehead was that flat. I shall have to examine my parents in greater detail when I next see them, although my Mother still occasionally reminds me that the forceps required to get me out, way back when, did leave me with a pointy head so perhaps they laid me down on my face too early and only my nose sprang back? Or maybe I'm just a Roman throwback?
Dio coin3.jpg
"Dio coin3"Uploaded 4 May 2006 by E.coli. Licensed under GPL via Wikimedia Commons.


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