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Concerts

Q&A: Taiko drumming ensemble Yamato coming to Wheaton College

Taiko drumming ensemble Yamato will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Wheaton College's Edman Chapel, 501 College Ave., Wheaton. The show is part of a 30-city tour for the group, which has been playing together since 1983.
Taiko drumming ensemble Yamato will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Wheaton College's Edman Chapel, 501 College Ave., Wheaton. The show is part of a 30-city tour for the group, which has been playing together since 1983.

WHEATON – In Japan, a Taiko drum is considered a deeply sacred musical instrument that is the epitome of the Japanese spirit.

Taiko drumming ensemble Yamato will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Wheaton College's Edman Chapel, 501 College Ave., Wheaton. The show is part of a 30-city tour for the group, which has been playing together since 1983.

Tickets range in price from $10 to $45, available at wheaton.edu or by calling 630-752-5010.

Suburban Life reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Yamato founder and artistic director Masa Ogawa about the ensemble. The interview has been edited for length and style.

Schelkopf: Are you part of the show along with the other drummers?

Ogawa: Sometimes, but not always.

Schelkopf: When you do drum in the show, what's the thrill for you playing one of these drums? What's the excitement for you?

Ogawa: The type of drumming is one of the enjoyable things for me. The most exciting thing for me is feeling the energy from the audience.

Schelkopf: I know your show is called "The Challengers." What would you like the audience to get out of the show?

Ogawa: We are always trying to express the energy of human beings by our Taiko drumming. For this show, we want to exchange the energy of the challengers with the audience.

Schelkopf: Do you ever see the reactions of people who watch your show? How do they react?

Ogawa: They give us a lot of energy. Sometimes [their applause] is louder than our drumming.

Schelkopf: What's next for the band?

Ogawa: This tour will continue through March, and then we go back to Japan in April. Then starting in the summer we will go to Europe.

Schelkopf: I know both men and women are in the band.

Ogawa: There are many women Taiko drummers in Japan. They give fresh energy to Taiko drumming, I think.

Schelkopf: How would you describe the sound of a Taiko drum?

Ogawa: The sound of a Taiko drum is the voice of the gods. In Japan, the gods are in everything, in the wind, in the sky, in the ground, in the trees – everything.

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If you go

WHAT: Taiko drumming ensemble Yamato

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10

WHERE: Wheaton College's Edman Chapel, 501 College Ave., Wheaton

COST: $10 to $45

INFO: wheaton.edu, 630-752-5010

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