Samurai, Shinto and Sake

They start the day with a 16-mile run, followed by rehearsals on a veritable orchestra of Taiko drums. Then, for more than half the year, they tour the world with a show that combines precision rhythms with explosive sound and near-acrobatic showmanship. They are Yamato, the Japanese drumming troupe whose performance one critic compared to “2,000 years of samurais [sic], Shinto meditation and sake … built up and released through feisty young drummers.” The ensemble, numbering as many women as men, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a retrospective of the group’s most popular numbers. Each piece has a specific theme, from “Rekka, the Fire,” a male/female drumming battle, through “Ittetsu, the Concentrated Spirit” which perseveres in a fragmented age, to the group’s signature piece, “Rakuda: Drumming like a Camel.”

Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m., $10-45, Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, UMass, Amherst, (413) 545-2511,

Author: Chris Rohmann

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