div1.jpg (6017 bytes)

Review of: Taiko to Tabla
Live at the Rhythm Sticks Festival at the Royal Festival Hall.

Review from: RHYTHM

Joji Hirota and Peter Lockett - London, The Purcell Rooms

[Click image for large version]
We're used to chronic under-attendance for London-based drum events but, down on the South Bank, The Purcell Rooms are packed with a capacity audience. Part of the Rhythm Sticks festival, Hirota and Lockett's From Taiko To Tabla has drawn a smartly-dressed crowd of hipsters, percussionists and the coolly curious. They are not disappointed.

The show is expertly paced, and always entertaining, utilising dozens of instruments and styles. From the haunting intro on shakuhachi (Japanese flute) played by Hirota to Lockett's solo on a purpose built drum, the musicianship is superb. The audience, to put it mildly, are enraptured. They applaud everything. The elfin Hirota's halting explanations are loudly clapped; Peter Lockett tunes up and virtually receives a standing ovation. The first half closes with the slow burning Lockett/Hirota composition 'The Gradual Ascent' which builds to a percussive climax that decommissions the air conditioning.

After the interval the duo wheel out the big drums. Joined onstage by Mark Alcock and James Barrow, Hirota and Lockett batter their way through a selection of traditional Japanese rhythms. Far closer to the likes of Kodo compared to the earlier, more esoteric sounds, this transition simply tears the roof off. The mild-mannered Peter Lockett reveals himself as a charismatic performer, though he always defuses the intensity with a self-deprecating joke at the end of each piece. Hirota is marvellous. His face remains impassive as his hands fly around the instruments, but his shirt is drenched black with sweat. After the segment is broken up with a brief demonstration of vocal percussion from Peter, the quartet finish with a traditional Japanese Harvest festival rhythm with Clive Bell guesting on shino bue (High bamboo flute). The encores follow in a blur of sweat and muscle; the audience are virtually ripping up the seats. It's a triumph for Hirota and Lockett and a strikingly inventive show. Sign me up for Rhythm Sticks II right now. Pat Reid


Click here to return to the Taiko to Tabla page





div1.jpg (6017 bytes)