Monday, 12 October 2009

REVIEW: Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers @ Newport Riverfront


Celebrating their 15th birthday with an extensive UK tour of 44 concert dates, the Mugenkyo Talko Drummers performed an energetic and powerful concert at Newport Riverfront on Saturday evening.

Setting the tone for the evening with Belenos, the Drummers tribute to renewal, it became apparent that the six strong group consisting of Neil Mackie, Miyuki Williams, Teresa Brookes, Fiona Stoddart, Shonagh Walker and Jennifer Minto were hugely talented, both in musical precision and choreography from the way they moved from one drum to another. Fast and furious rhythms were displayed with music such as Tojimbo and Todoroki painting an image of intense concentration and movement.

The drummers were accompanied on several numbers by dance artist Lale Sayoko, who contributed a diverse range of Egyptian and Turkish dance styles complimenting the drummers’ musical style beautifully.

After the interval, the pace lightened and the audience were encouraged to join in with several numbers by clapping hands, shouting out and stamping their feet. It was clear that the group clearly were enjoying themselves too, which encouraged the audience to participate even further.

Finishing on the powerful track Phoenix, dedicated to the bands teacher Masaaki Kurumaya Sensei, audience appreciation was so much the drummers returned for a startling encore.

I found that the Mugenkyo Talko Drummers were as inspirational as they were entertaining and would highly recommend going to see them to anyone who has a passion for real music. Be sure to catch them when they next return to Newport!

Andy Howells

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