Drumming ensemble TaikOz presents The Spirit Dancer, in which they will be joined by esteemed guests Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai who will perform the dazzlingly vibrant Onikenbai, a traditional Japanese Buddhist dance, the only Australian performance at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.
This program showcases TaikOz performing a Buddhist prayer dance which pays homage to ancestral spirits at the midsummer Lantern Festival. Onikenbai is the centrepiece of this high energy concert. A deeply spiritual expression of ancient rites and beliefs, it gives a rare glimpse into the character of the humble yet strong-willed farmers of Japan’s Iwate region. The name Onikenbai derives from the performers’ frightening masks and aggressive movements. Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai is the keeper and practitioner of an ancient form of dance and music unique to Iwate Prefecture. Strikingly colourful with fierce bravery, athletic dexterity and gentle tranquillity, The Spirit Dancer transports audiences to ancient Buddhist rites then musically catapults them back to the 21st century in a program of invocation and modern beats.
The musicians and dancers will perform a wide range of original music for shakuhachi and taiko – traversing a rich musical spectrum from hushed melodies to mighty, powerful rhythms. Most of TaikOz pieces in The Spirit Dancer have been composed within the past two years. Artistic Director, Ian Cleworth says “We are thrilled to be joined by Iwasaki Onikenbai Hozonkai, who are coming directly from Japan to perform and give workshops in Sydney. The ornamental modal melodies, powerful rhythms, low centred stances and strong, purposeful movements of Onikenbai inform the music and movement of modern taiko to a very great degree.”
‘Taiko’ is the Japanese word for ‘drum’ and TaikOz is Australia’s premier taiko drumming group. A TaikOz performance, however, is more than just the beating of drums; it incorporates a complete world of drumming, song and dance. While once a uniquely Japanese art form, its transformation into an international language is a recent phenomenon and one in which TaikOz is very much at the forefront. A TaikOz performance is not just for the ears and the eyes, but is felt throughout the entire body.
Tickets: $55 – $85 plus booking fee
Book at www.cityrecitalhall.com,