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Review of: Taiko to Tabla

Review from: Jersey Evening Post / Friday 21 June 02

Show that's hard to beat

Jo Cummins was thrilled by a concert that featured a formidable array of percussion.

Those people who think that a drummer is just someone who follows a band around should have been at St James last night for the Taiko to Tabla concert, which was part of the Schroders World Music Series

Joji Hirota and Pete Lockett treated a packed house to an evening of outstanding and inspirational percussion that brought this amazing duo, if not a standing, a definite floor-shaking, foot-stamping ovation. 

It is unusual to see a drummer sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by an array of global instruments that range from huge Japanese Taiko drums through the Japanese temple drums often found outside Buddhist temples to the classical tabla drums from Northern India, but Pete Lockett looked very much at home in that position as he belted out the rhythms from India and Japan

Joji Hirota, who is the Japanese drummer seen in the opening credits of the ITV World Cup coverage, seemed almost balletic in his movements as he became one with his own collection of instruments, which were quite distinct from Lockett's. 

The interaction between the two musicians was perfection and their timing was superb, almost as if they were playing with the same mind. Their repertoire ranged through the plaintive and evocative sounds of the Shakuhachi bamboo flute to the thundering beat of the taiko drums, taking the audience on a global percussion trip of epic proportions. 

Both musicians took time to explain the history of their instruments and the cultural significance of each piece they played. Hirota was given a special round of applause when he likened the beautiful seaside of Hokkaido to Jersey's own shores. 

The performance opened with a haunting and gentle Japanese folk song with Hirota on flute and Lockett accompanying him on the Arabic frame drum. Then more rousing pieces followed, using an awesome array of instruments that formed a compelling musical landscape of exciting sounds that defy description. 

The variations between the intricate fingering required for the Indian tabla and the robust pounding and mighty power of the Japanese taiko were nothing less than stunning. 

It is a shame that these two virtuosos were in Jersey for only one night because it as a majestic display that left an enthusiastic audience hungry for more. 

With its superb acoustics, St James has once again proved to be the perfect venue for unique performances such as this.





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