Tomoe-Ryu Yutakadaiko

Japanese Drums

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    7
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A nice album of basic taiko music. The playing, done by a collection of high school students, doesn't come near the complexity of some of the supergroups (such as Kodo), but at the same time pulls no punches. The compositions are largely traditional, and generally not overly complex. This is festival music at its purest, basest level. Pounding drums are the key to everything, riling up the crowds and interlocking rhythms to create a full texture. The kids playing are entirely capable, and add in a handful of related instruments not often heard with the taiko ensemble. The flutes of course are omnipresent in much festival music, but the conch shell (or some relative) is an interesting addition. Taiko groups run the range from the uber-eclectic and forward thinking (again, such as Kodo) to the purely traditional, somewhat more subdued outfits (such as Soh Daiko). This group, with its revolving roster, hits somewhere in the middle, playing traditional music but eschewing the more formal repertoire in favor of something with a good thick groove built in. Worth a listen as a basic primer on the drum ensemble, but venture further afield if it piques your interest.

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