Something new and exciting, especially for fans of martial arts and percussion-driven music: “Drum Tao—Samurai Drum Rock,” a show featuring a world-renowned Japanese drum and dance ensemble, will be held April 19-22 at the Kia Theatre in Araneta Center, Quezon City.
The group—which first played in Manila in 2012—is said to have performed to more than seven million people in 400 cities in 23 countries, including Switzerland, Denmark, Israel, Australia, Spain, Belgium, the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
Running for two hours, “Drum Tao—Samurai Drum Rock” is described as “an evening of rhythm, beats, melody and extraordinary precision” whose theatrical spirit is inspiring and uplifting.
People suffering from depression or some other illness or problem have attested to feeling energized after watching a Drum Tao performance.
For this year’s shows, including Manila, the group’s costumes were created by Japanese fashion designer Junko Koshino.
One of the performers, Yoshi Suito, gave more details about the show in this Q&A:
Tell us about the Japanese drums that the group uses.
The body of our large mama drum is made of bubinga wood or kayaki—one large piece of wood which is 300-400 years old. You can buy a house with the cost of this mama drum.
Is the show based on Japanese culture and history?
The choreography, costumes and props are based on the tradition and culture of the samurai (Japanese warriors). The show is an expression of Japanese culture, enhanced by modern numbers, rhythms, movement and costumes.
How do the group’s members prepare themselves for a show?
We wake up at 6 a.m., run for seven kilometers or more, do muscle training, and play the taiko drums for four hours straight. This intense, continuous beating of the drums is essential for building muscles and mental strengths.
We devote our physical and spiritual strengths during rehearsals, to be sure that all Tao performers are perfectly in sync with each other before we go onstage.
We control our diet, too. We don’t eat beef before a performance. We have at least three hours of physical activity before eating a breakfast of fish, salad, soup and rice.
A drummer undergoes intense training for a year. The passion to succeed is the most important thing. You have to lose everything else—at one point, you cannot even talk to your friends or family. No cell phones, access to computers and the internet, no alcohol, not even snacks. Some trainees do not last long if they cannot handle the tough physical training.
“Drum Tao—Samurai Drum Rock,” April 19-22, Kia Theatre, Araneta Center, Quezon City. Call 5884000.