YAMATO Comes to Overture Hall in April

The performance is on Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m.

By: Mar. 16, 2023
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YAMATO Comes to Overture Hall in April

Get ready to see "more than a performance" as YAMATO the Drummers of Japan brings their 2023-2024 world tour - "Hinotori" The wings of Phoenix - to Overture Hall on Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets ($25-$60) are available at overture.org.

YAMATO is a Japanese Taiko drumming group based in Asuka-mura Nara Prefecture, which is well known by Japanese people as the hometown of Japan. They call themselves "YAMATO, the Taiko drumming group that travels all over the world." They have given more than 4,000 shows across 54 countries around the world since their formation in 1993.

YAMATO's Taiko work cannot be fully described by the word "performance." They have performed in theaters and schools and at all types of events and even held workshops and Taiko lessons. They are spending a half year on a Japan tour and a half year for the world tour. Their motto is: "We go everywhere when somebody needs YAMATO!" And bringing energy to the people living in the world, they bring joy to the world.

On stage, they are standing with more than 40 Taiko drums, and all of them have different characters. For example, their largest drum called "Odaiko," produced from a huge tree over 400 years old, is approximately two meters in diameter and weighs about 1,100 pounds (500 kg). All other Taiko drums are different sizes and have different sounds. The members of the group have trained their bodies to the limit to beat these massive Taiko drums.

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 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.

Our community partner for YAMATO the Drummers of Japan is The Burish Group of UBS. Overture is grateful for this community support that helps make these experiences possible.


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