"The Yamato show is a genuinely theatrical experience, delivered with balletic grace and infectious humor" -Times Online (UK)
On Thursday, November 14, the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall will resound with sounds of “ ...drumbeats that resonate like the delicacy of falling rain to an explosion of rhythmic exhilaration! ” when the Asian Arts & Culture Program hosts the Japanese Taiko “super group” Yamato in celebration of its 20th anniversary. These fierce young male and female drummers stir the hearts of people with sounds of the traditional Wadaiko drums and live up to the Yamato motto of “Go anywhere if invited and make the world a little happier.” Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at Fine Arts Center Concert Hall are available at the box office in advance or as walk-up sales at the UMass Fine Arts Center Box Office. Please call 413-545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS or visit fineartscenter.com to purchase online or for more ticket information. Tickets start at $15 and youth 17 and under are only $10.
Audiences may recognize many martial arts routines used by the Yamato artists as they pound the drums including a large eight hundred pound drum that fills the stage. Taiko drums originated in Japan and are played with sticks called bachi. They are made of leather and wood and can range in size from eighteen inches to four feet in diameter. These drums have played many roles in Japanese culture ranging from dispelling evil entities at harvest festivals to communicating between opposing armies on battlefields during medieval times. Yamato was founded by Masa Ogawa in 1993 in Nara, Japan known as ‘the land of Yamato” which is said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. The drumming organization is based at Asuka in the Nara Prefecture, a place with more than a thousand years of history and culture. The Yamato drummers travel all over the world with their traditional Wadaiko drums attempting to maintain the “soul’ these unusual instruments yet seeking to give new expressions to these ancient Wadaiko drums. Yamato believes the sound of the drums (made of animal skin and ancient trees, some of which are more than 400 years old!) is like a pulse or heartbeat (Shin-on) at the center of life and is a source of power that pulsates through the human body. Like the strong and sturdy heartbeats of an individual runner with a sleek and powerful body, Yamato attempts to create this energy of life to envelop the audience with their performance. The Japanese call this energy “Tamashy”, translated as soul, spirit, and psyche - the basic elements of life. It is something which is invisible and intangible but whose existence is certainly felt! Come, feel the energy and power of tamashy at this very special Asian Arts & Culture anniversary program featuring the best compositions from Yamato’s twenty year journey. With an early start time of 7:30PM, the Yamato performance is perfect family entertainment!
"It was simply captivating. The incredible talent and sheer enjoyment of what they do was plain to see" - The Evening Post (UK).
"A brilliant show of sound and stage". - La Gaceta (Spain)
"Imagine two thousand years of samurais, Shinto meditation and sake being built up and released through nine feisty young drummers and their kits"- Kpas (UK)
"This is a show of unbridled enthusiasm, much humor and great musical variety"- The Scotsman (UK)
The Fine Arts Center’s Asian Arts & Culture and Center Series are sponsored by Baystate Health & Health New England. Asian Arts & Culture Program Season sponsor is the Pioneer Valley Hotel Group. Event sponsors are Daily Hampshire Gazette, WGBY57, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.