"Explosive Beats: Japanese Taiko Drumming" Coming to Center for the Arts

By David Wedekindt

Release Date: March 28, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts and the University at Buffalo's Asian Studies Program will present "Explosive Beats: Japanese Taiko Drumming" on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be held in the Mainstage theater in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. The event is also sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the Office of the Vice Provost of International Education.

Taiko is a drumming style of Japanese origin. A Taiko is a drum made from an open-ended wooden barrel with animal skin stretched over both ends and it is played with two bachi (wooden sticks). While various Taiko drums have been used in Japan for more than 1,400 years, and possibly much longer, the style of Taiko best known today has a relatively short history, beginning in the 1950s. Borrowing on more than 1,000 years of tradition, Taiko players are now taking the style worldwide.

The performance will feature two leading Taiko drummers: Takumi Kato and Ryo Shiobara.

Kato began as a professional drummer in the United States in 2001 and from 2004 to 2006 received further professional training from Kodo, one of Japan's leading Taiko groups. In 2006 he relocated to Los Angeles and has given many concerts in that area. At the end of 2006 he attracted an audience of more than 8,000 people at a performance in the Taiko Festival at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Shiobara was the grand prix winner at the 6th Tokyo International Taiko Contest in August 2007. He made his professional Taiko drummer debut in 1999 after spending 13 years in a regional performing arts group. He has won many awards in national and international Taiko drumming competitions and has traveled the world, performing in countries such as the United States, Hungary and Taiwan.

Tickets for "Explosive Beats: Japanese Taiko Drumming" are $15 general admission and $10 for students. Tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Center for the Arts Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations, including ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets, call 852-5000; in Canada, call 1-416-870-8000. For group sales, call 645-6771. For more information, call 645-ARTS. Students (of any school) must present valid student ID at the Center Box Office to receive discount.