YAMATO The Drummers of Japan Will Tour North America

Performances run February 14-April 16.

By: Jan. 05, 2023
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

YAMATO The Drummers of Japan Will Tour North America

From February 14 - April 16, 2023, YAMATO: The Drummers of Japan tour North America with their new show entitled, 「火の鳥」 Hinotori - The wings of Phoenix. This year marks the 30th Anniversary season for the "simply captivating" (The Evening Post) Taiko troupe, who have reached nearly 8 million people globally in over 4,000 performances throughout their history. The troupe brings Hinotori - The wings of Phoenix to twenty-eight venues in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Delaware, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and Calgary and Toronto, Canada.

"We want to be creative," says Founder and Artistic Director Masa Ogawa. The physically powerful troupe of musician-athletes work and live together as a community in the Asuka Village, said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. There they create their own musical compositions, theater productions, sets, lighting design, choreography, performance techniques, costumes, makeup, stage settings and props. They even make their own bachi sticks used to play the traditional Japanese instruments, beginning each show by hitting a Wadaiko drum weighing half a ton, made from a single piece of wood from a 400-year-old tree. "YAMATO believes that the drumbeat, like the heartbeat, is the very pulse of life and the epitome of the Japanese spirit," says Ogawa. "YAMATO uses creativity to convert Wadaiko into a performing art that can reverberate in Japan, Asia, and the rest of the world."

YAMATO had just begun touring their program, Tenmei - Destiny in 2022 when the troupe - along with the rest of the world - was confronted with closures due to a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. The drummers returned to the Asuka Village, where they never ceased training and creating together. Hinotori - The wings of Phoenix celebrates the troupe's strength and ability to rise up despite the challenges it has faced throughout its 30-year history. Ogawa writes: The dawn is beginning to break again.
Now is the time to get up.

We have not been defeated
Even though we hit the mountain that rises high
Even slipped and fallen into deep valleys
We've gotten back up again and again

Just when we began to over-confidently believe that we could go anywhere

Under the sky, on the Earth

We were confronted by the biggest mountain I'd ever seen
We sank into a valley deeper than any valley I've ever slid down

In the shadow of the huge mountain
In the darkness of the pitch-black valley floor
We were swallowed up

Despair and Hope

But we did not forget the sun that shone beyond

We continued to struggle and walk
And now we see the light again

Now is the time to rise again
Fly high


Flying high, clothed in sunshine
We spread the wings of our burning souls

We are Phoenix


Founded in 1993 in Japan's Nara Prefecture and presently based in Asuka Village, said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture, YAMATO travels all over the word with Japan's traditional Taiko drums, putting its very souls into the unusual instruments. Over the past 30 years, the troupe has performed in in 54 countries and regions, giving 4,000 performances for nearly eight million people. They travel with about 40 Taiko drums, ranging in size from 10kg to 500kg. The troupe lives within the Village and engages in daily strength training, instrument practice, and program rehearsal. Always evolving and innovating while respecting the tradition, YAMATO is a modern and relevant ambassador for Taiko drumming and for the Japanese culture from which it derives.

Since their formation, YAMATO has been committed to preserving and respecting the Taiko tradition, while infusing originality and innovation into the ancient practice. Notably, YAMATO broke from Taiko's long-standing patriarchy and has always included women in the troupe. And while the members train rigorously, YAMATO imbues each performance with joy and a sense of fun, breaking from the stereotypical stoicism associated with this ancient art form.

Tour Dates

February 14 - Medford, OR - Craterion Theater at the Collier Center for the Performing Arts
February 16 - Seattle, WA - The Moore Theatre
February 19 - Calgary AB - Jack Singer Concert Hall
February 22 - Bend, OR - Tower Theatre
February 24 - Redding, CA - The Cascade Theatre
February 25 - Rohnert Park, CA - Weill Hall, Green Music Center at Sonoma State University
February 26 - Davis, CA - Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center at UC Davis
February 28 - Modesto, CA - Gallo Center for the Arts
March 3 - Cerritos, CA - Cerritos Center for Performing Arts
March 4 - Los Angeles, CA - Soraya Center at CSUN
March 7 - Twin Falls, ID - CSI Fine Arts Auditorium
March 9 - Beaver Creek, CO - Vilar Performing Arts Center
March 16 - Midland, TX - Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
March 18 - Galveston, TX - The Grand 1894 Opera House
March 19 - San Antonio, TX - The Tobin Center
March 20 - Austin, TX - The Paramount Theatre
March 24 - Athens, GA - Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at UGA
March 25 - Newberry, SC - Newberry Opera House
March 29 - Fish Creek, WI - Door Community Auditorium
March 31 - Wausau, WI - The Grand Theater
April 2 - Madison, WI - Overture Hall
April 6 - Durham, NC - Page Auditorium
April 7 - Wilmington, DE - Copeland Hall, The Grand Opera House
April 8 - Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
April 11 - New Philadelphia, OH - Performing Arts Center at KSU
April 13 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
April 14 - Kingston, ON - Kingston Grand Theatre
April 16 - Lyndon Center, VT - Lyndon Institute Auditorium