You’ve still got until 25th March if you want to catch the Yamato Drummers of Japan at the Peacock Theatre! Frankly, you’d be a fool not to go. You can get your tickets here.
The Yamato drummers hail from Asuka in Japan’s Nara Prefecture and, since being founded in 1993, have toured worldwide from the UK to Israel to Australia. They’re currently gracing London with their presence, knocking the audience back in their seats with powerful taiko drums.
As soon as I saw the Yamato drummers were playing at the Peacock Theatre, I knew I had to go. I wasn’t sure what to expect – perhaps a more Japanese version of Stomp? I love Japanese music and have always found the taiko drum pretty impressive to look at and listen to, but Yamato takes it to another level.
There’s no need for special effects or strobe lighting. All you need is those powerful drums.
In total, there are ten drummers, both men and women who have obviously trained hard and built up impressive strength so they can beat out rhythms on various-sized taiko drums and dance in the process. There’s a short interval, but other than that the music barely stops.
When the performers aren’t blasting away on the taiko drums, there are interludes involving shamisen guitars and even tiny cymbals. Of course, the cymbals are played to such a professional level beyond the reach of most of us. The stage (particularly the location of the taiko drums) rotates even mid-performance, so you never know quite what to expect next.
It’s exhausting just watching the Yamato drummers of Japan on stage. Those drums require a lot of energy and the performers are pure muscle. Introduce some taiko drum classes to UK gyms and you’ve got the next fitness craze.
The performers themselves are very expressive and there are a few funny skits to break up the high-intensity performances (how they’re still standing between songs is a miracle). The second half of the performance involves a bit more audience participation and you will be forced to join in the clapping and comedy. The audience was constantly in stitches and the drummers got a standing ovation at the end, which they certainly deserve.
I really hope the Yamato drummers of Japan return to the UK because they are a real treat to see. There’s still some time left to catch them at the Peacock Theatre and it’s well worth making time for them.