The “Taiko Effect, Drums of Change” from Japan opened at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) main theater with Aisaku Yokogawa, who has lived in our country for some time, charming listeners with explanatory remarks in Pilipino and English.
He then sang “Ikaw” engagingly, accompanied by Yu Migoshi on the koto, an elongated string instrument. Yu followed with a Japanese piece, later performing with a woman flutist, Mariko Saito in “Sea in Spring.”
Members of the drum ensemble varied from three to 16. The two largest were a long, perpendicular one standing at center stage in a leaning position, and a huge, round one facing the wall at the side, the drummer beating on it with vigorous exuberance.
The Arahan, twin drums in red, conspicuously stood out among the many drums. Its drummer displayed a daunting, mind-blowing, incomparable and amazing feat that left the pulses of the audience beating rapidly with each of his powerful strike.
From the start, the ensemble—admirably, many of whom were young women—mesmerized with its precision, cohesion, unity and control of dynamics, these ranging from what seemed like the fluttering of birds wings, to tremendous, thunderous and overwhelming percussive sounds that shattered the air and pierced the ear!
In one number, the ensemble members attired in black, performed with breathtaking, synchronized martial arts movements as they beat on their drums, led by conductor and composer Sen Amano.
To provide dramatic contrast and enhance the drum effect, a group of children and adults went through brisk karate movements; still in another number, five men actually engaged in martial arts electrifying karate practitioners among the viewers.
The unfailing precision, cohesion, unity, vitality, vigor and vibrance projected by the drummers continued to magnetize, energize and fascinate the full house whose response ended in a clangorous, rousing standing ovation.
The encore, again a deafening, stupefying drum-beating, will reverberate in our ears for a long, long time.