Monochrome: IDP Taiko Ensemble & Friends in Concert

I had the same feeling at the Monochrome: IDP Taiko Ensemble & Friends in Concert. IDP students, Taikoz and all performers, they gave a brilliant and powerful performance. I was deeply impressed by the flowing and purposeful choreography that blended the boundaries between drumming and dancing.

MonochromeThe shime-daikos of Monochrome in particular carried a polish sound and pleasant feelings, they were attaching the o-daiko with the deep peals such as cadenza.As Shisen-do is build at the foot of the mountain, Jozan invested shishi-odoshi (鹿僧都), a device used to scare away wild animals such. In the tranquility of the garden, the rhythmic thudding sound is intended to cause you to reflect on the passage of time. Monochrome's distinct modulation between pianissimos and fortissimos was just kind of and it made a striking contrast to the stillness like the shishi-odoshi.Actually shishi-odoshi is really a Japanese mechanism. Water from a bamboo spout fills one end of the bamboo tipping piece which triggers a see-sawing motion and the water is then emptied from the tipping arm into a bowl or pond, whilst the tipping arm is propelled back into position with an audible thud on a sounding rock. The rhythm is delicately balanced and closely similar to pause Ma (間) of tsuzumi (鼓) in Nogaku (能楽) or Jo-Ha-Kyu (序破急).Jo-Ha-Kyu goes by and never turns back just as the snow falls silently. It's not as recurrent as it seemed at a glance, and such fluidities, like you see that this summer is not the same as last summer, are common to Japanese arts.In addition, just beyond Shisen-no-ma (詩仙の間) is a dry landscape garden karesansui (枯山水). The white fine sand, that represents purity, brings the colour of pink and green of roundly trimmed hedges of Satsuki azaleas into prominence. The hedges help cover up the roots of maple trees planted behind. I felt the score of Monochrome delivered sounds to a region having depth and a difference in the height, just as the design of the garden does, was like moving architecture.The beginning of the Monochrome was whisper-quiet–virtually inaudible sounds from shime-daikos.Finally, I'm going to share with you all Ichi-go-ichi-e (一期一会). I learnt this Japanese proverb from my old friend when I was small. He was giving me advice,

Watching him rain sweat across the drum, it occurred to me that you get what you put into your life. If you give it your all, like this might be your last living moment, then sometimes amazing things materialise. But if you withdraw and hold back fearfully, those great things probably will not happen to you.

I imagined Shisen-do (詩仙堂) temple in Kyoto when I was listening to Monochrome. Shisen-do is the mountain hermitage built as a retreat in 1641 by Jozan Ishikawa (石川丈山).

Music is not distinct from nature, but part of it: the constant progress of the blossoming of the cherry blossom, starting from the appearance of the first petals to the scattering of the full blossoms by the wind. Each blossom possesses its own unique rhythm of coming into flower.

According to the composer, Maki Ishii (石井眞木), this challenges the traditions of East- Asian drumming, in which whisper "Sasayaki (囁き)" and quiet "Kasokeki (幽けき)" sounds have no place, because in their religious and spiritual context, drums are required to "disturb heaven and earth" and to awaken the spirits.
I like his idea 'the most effective means of highlighting the differences between Eastern and Western music is to place musicians with different musical attitudes in the same temporal and spatial setting.’, and I think it actually happened at the IDP concert.

'What is "normal" such nonsense criteria? Everyone is unique. Let your essence shine through. Ichi-go-ichi-e means: one moment, one meaning. It means we have to make the most of this moment we have with people, because we don't know how many of these moments we will have. We always think of people as changing us, but we are also changing them. Don't deny them yourself, do not hold back. Follow your gut, if it tells you something is not okay, then listen to it. But outside of that, do not worry about anything.'
He playing Miyake and they at the IDP concert, their efforts taught me a lot. Even though it's not only about Taiko, but everything, for me, the combination of Japanese instruments and people have various backgrounds to bridge the different cultures with its emphasis on complexity and human agency, and Japanese music, is so alluring.
Also, you can do it together, but at the same time, you can do it alone. In fact, that life is a solitary journey, no matter who we are with, we have to live our life by ourselves. That's why I'm really happy to have Ichi-go-ichi-e with those great taiko people :)