Daily Archives: March 5, 2012

Taiko Legend: Heart Beat from Japan (Eitetsu Hayashi)

Tonight, I was fortunate enough to attend a special concert organized by the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan in cooperation with Sultan Qaboos University.  This concert was in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Oman.  Read more about this concert here on the Japan Foundation’s website.

The performance was amazing!  Such precision, intensity, coordination and energy!  The lighting on stage (managed by Yoshiyuki Matsui) was also beautifully done.  Check out this video from the Japanese Foundation with highlights of the concert to get an idea of what it was like:

These gentlemen will be performing at the Opera House this coming Tuesday (Mar 6th) in a concert titled “Exhilarating Rhythm” together with Omani drummers.  I am really looking forward to this “one-of-a-kind performance“!

The Ambassador of Japan to the Sultanate of Oman, HE George Hisaeda, spoke about the important relationship between Oman and Japan during the past 40 years.  He explained that the musicians have already performed in Qatar and the Emirates and will finish up in Bahrain on this trip to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Japan’s diplomatic relations with these 4 GCC countries.  Many in the crowd (including a large number of Omani students from SQU) cheered loudly when he stated his certainty that none of the other countries has as much of a love of music as the Sultanate of Oman.

Makoto Takei was the “guest player” on the Japanese Bamboo Flute or “Shakuhachi”.  It was nice how they incorporated his flute playing with the drumming in several pieces.                                     

Each beat of the drum has to go deep. It has to arouse in the audience a boundless feeling, stretching back through time. What I am pursuing is a sound that embodies Nature, one that is both awe-inspiring yet serene” – Eitetsu Hayashi

One of my favorite parts of the evening was the heartfelt speech by Eitetsu Hayashi in which he thanks Oman for strong support during the destruction caused by the East Coast hurricane/tsunami in Japan last year.  “I would like to say thank you very much for your heart-warming support from here in Oman.  By performing tonight I would like to express our deep appreciation to everyone and I thank you for your sympathy and your understanding of our struggles.  I also hope to unite with many people in the world.  I have been playing “Taiko”, Japanese drumming music, for forty years….not fourteen. (applause and laugh from audience)  So I am no longer young but with my young “FU-UN”s (the name of his young taiko drum members), I’m happy to show my best performance here in Sultan Qaboos University.  Please enjoy the show and thank you indeed.”                      

Unlike the upcoming Opera House event, they allowed us to take photos during this performance.  The only stipulation was that you could not use flash photography.  As you can see, the drumming was so rapid that all you could see in some of the images is a blur of activity!  Here’s a short video of their drumming:                                                      

Because I couldn’t use flash, I tried timing it for the split second they might freeze before pounding the drum like in this image.  Here is a picture of the same man as he is really getting “into the zone“:

And here they are on video:                                    


After a lively standing ovation, Eitetsu Hayashi and crew performed an encore.  I loved the singing that went along with this performance.  Here’s the last video I took of this unforgettable evening: