Uzume Taiko

Chirashi

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Uzume Taiko is an obscure trio from Vancouver, Canada that is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese acoustic music but sometimes shows some North American influence by using non-Asian instruments and occasionally incorporating touches of avant-garde jazz. The word taiko is Japanese for "big drum," and in Japan, taiko drums are used in everything from village festivals to the religious ceremonies of Buddhist monks. Uzume Taiko members John Endo Greenaway, Eileen Kage and Leslie Komori all play the taiko drums on the mostly instrumental Chirashi, and they combine them with everything from traditional Asian instruments like the pipa and the shakuhachi (a bamboo flute considered sacred in Buddhism) to the saxophone and the electric bass. While "Spring On Heavenly Mountain" is a traditional song of the Chinese Muslims, most of the songs on this CD (including the avant-garde jazz tune "Grace") are Uzume Taiko originals. Though Chirashi is a bit uneven, the CD on the whole is quite enjoyable. And to the group's credit, it isn't afraid to take some chances.

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