Japanese drummers roll in to Cumbernauld Theatre

the way of the drum
the way of the drum

FEEL the power and thunder of traditional Japanese drumming at a special performance in Cumbernauld next month.

For the first time since 1998, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers will give a concert of traditional Japanese drumming at Cumbernauld Theatre on Saturday, June 18. The show, The Way of the Drum, introduces the audience to the styles, history and traditions of taiko drumming. “People who have seen our large-scale concert often said they wanted to know more about the music, so this is how we show them what it’s all about,” said Mugenkyo co-founder Neil Mackie, who for two years was trained in this art form by leading exponent Masaaki Kurumaya.

In 1998 the company relocated from London to a farmhouse near Lesmahagow.

“We used to get a lot of complaints when we used normal studios because of how loud our instruments are,” said Neil. “But now we give lessons and rehearse in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sheep and can make as much noise as we want!”

The company’s touring shows soon built up a following. “We were getting very positive feedback. Early on, sometimes people would walk out of our shows because we aren’t Japanese, but that doesn’t happen nearly as much these days. The most common feedback we get is from people who find the performance is different from what they expected. They say they didn’t expect to enjoy two hours of drumming, or that they would be deafened, but the frequency of the drums is such that you feel the vibration as much as hear it. That’s something that can only be experienced live, you don’t get that from watching TV.”

Neil also said he hoped to work more closely with Cumbernauld Theatre in future. “We’re hoping to see a good turnout from the people of Cumbernauld. Local people are very fortunate to have something like Cumbernauld Theatre when so many theatres are closing. I remember the theatre as a lovely place and we’re just down the road, so if we’re well-supported we’ll hopefully set up at some taiko workshops.”

See the show at Cumbernauld Theatre on June 18. To book tickets, call the box office on 01236 732 887.