Expect dramatic drumming when Taikoz plays Lismore City Hall

TAIKOZ, Australia's premier taiko drumming group, is set to bring the beat to Lismore City Hall.

While taiko is the Japanese word for drum, a TaikOz performance is more than just the beating of drums: it incorporates a complete world of drumming, song and dance that on one hand harks back to ancient Buddhist and Shinto rituals and on the other, is a reflection of contemporary musical life, irrespective of nationality.

While once a uniquely Japanese art form, its transformation into an international language is a recent phenomenon and one where TaikOz is very much at the forefront.

>> Taikoz will perform at Lismore City Hall on October 10 and October 11. The group will hold a $15 drumming workshop on October 10 from 4pm to 5.30pm. Phone 1300 066 772 for booking info

Now in its 18th year, the group's passionate dedication to blending traditional taiko practice with contemporary Australian and Japanese compositions results in a spectacular performance of physical prowess and heart thumping sound.

A TaikOz performance is not just for the ears and the eyes, but is felt throughout the body.

TaikOz music director, Graham Hilgendorf, said they couldn't wait to bring their riveting show to Lismore.

"It's going really well - it's a really dynamic show, all our shows are, but this show - it's got lots of different colours and sounds in it. People are loving it," Hilgendorf said.

Taiko, he explained, is quite different and unique to other forms of drumming - the drums themselves are quite large and solid, and the drummers must use their whole body to make sounds.

"It's like a dance," Hilgendorf laughed.

"Some people say it looks like martial arts at times. The movement is as much a part of it as the sounds are."

He explained that while TaikOz plays a lot of traditional Japanese music, they are starting to create their own music.

"We still play traditional pieces, but we're gradually finding our voice."

Hilgendorf has been a part of TaikOz since 1998, when he saw a friend perform in the group.

Having played drums and percussion his whole life, he was instantly drawn to the Japanese art.

"I think it was the physical side (that drew me in) - that movement that was so embedded in the performance, I really responded to that."

"I really enjoy studying the traditions of the music - I'm very intrigued (by that) and I really enjoy getting into the traditions of the music style and how it came about."

"At the same time, TaikOz is interesting because we are, gradually, developing our own voice and our style."

One thing he loved about taiko, he said, was that it was very much a community activity as well as a performance activity.

That was something he discovered during his many trips to Japan.

He heads over usually once a year, to study traditional music and traditional forms, and to see as many community groups as he can - there are thousands of taiko groups across the country who come together to play on a regular basis.

"I love seeing that aspect of taiko, seeing that community activity," Hilgendorf said.

TaikOz will be offering a drumming workshop at Lismore City Hall on Friday, October 10, from 4-5.30pm.

Limited spaces available. $15 per person. Bookings on 1300 066 772.

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