Japanese music is getting an international boost at this time. Artists featured on the soundtracks in Japanese Manga and anime films are being discovered by a wider audience. So the J-Pop genre is having a renaissance recently in Asia, Europe and in the United States. But of course there’s more to Japanese music than modern J-Pop.
There is older, historical Japanese music too. From the Shakuhachi (尺八 – traditional bamboo flute) to the Wa Daiko (和太鼓 – traditional drums ) which are commonly played during festivals, court events and religious ceremonies.
I had the opportunity to watch an amazing performance of traditional Japanese instruments by some very young drummers on my trip to Kumamoto, and luckily I got the video camera running just as they began to play the last song in their set. True to their age and generation – ( The youngest looks about 6 years old and oldest maybe 16 ! ) they took the genre of Taiko drumming a step forward – I was moved by the way it was progressive as well as traditional . They used formal Kata ( 形 – forms) with their body positions and drumming style but also added some surprisingly funky rhythm layering.
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