Breath to Breath is a collaboration between TaikOz and feature artists Riley Lee, Timothy Constable, Junsuke Kawase III, Christopher Blasdel, Kaoru Kakizakai, David Wheeler, Anton Lock with choreography by Meryl Tankard.
Breath to Breath begins with the idea of inhalation and exhalation as central to life itself and is a celebration of two instruments, the shakuhachi and the drum. Both, metaphorical representations of the breath. The shakuhachi symbolic of arteries and veins, giving life to breath, while the drum symbolises the drive and energy of the heart “pulsating with life.” This notion is taken further in the structure of the programs juxtaposition of two musical worlds, one an expression of our interior states, the other, the exterior.
The first half of the program encompasses our interior world beginning with Mushin, a collaboration between Riley Lee on shakuhachi and Timothy Constable on marimba and percussion. The combination of these two instruments was mesmerising. The tones of the marimba, intricate and intriguing provided a solid background for the haunting melodies of the shakuhachi. Next, Anton Lock, Taikoz’s youngest member performed a solo dance from Kaidan: A Ghost Story. Meryl Tankard’s choreography based on an ancient Japanese ghost story was purely gestural, rather than a literal interpretation. Anton Lock’s muscular form against the warmly lit drum was highly evocative. Elements of gold against black skirt and bold shadows of body in movement, both captivating and elegantly executed.
The second half of the program follows our exterior state and took a distinctly different approach. Beginning with three shakuhachi pieces, each quite different musically, the essence of zen meditation was clearly evident with its simple inclusion. TaikOz’s Tribute to Miyake with its lilting, intensely fiery rhythms created through the performers low stance and twisting movements of legs and torso set the tone for the second half of the performance increasing the tempo and energy of music and movement. The sheer physicality of the drumming combined with the absolute symmetry of each of the performers, in relation to the whole, was both dignified and reverent. Each sound and movement, majestic. Finally, Circle Dance highlighted the precision of ritual and its importance to festivity and shared experiences.
Overall TaikOz gave an outstanding performance combining many elements of music, dance, martial arts, meditation and outstanding drumming. The constancy of this Opening Night Concert’s rhythm, vibration, energy and power revved up the audience leading us on a highly vibrant and intriguing journey from beginning to end. Sensational drumming combined with haunting melodies of the shakuhachi and dance provided an energetic and inspiring night of music. The audience certainly showed its appreciation with a standing ovation.
TaikOz & Shakuhachi
Breath to Breath
Opening Concert of the World Shakuhachi Festival 2008
Venue: City Recital Hall Angel Place
Date/Time: Friday, 4 July 2008, 8:00PM
Tickets: $65 - $45
For further information on the World Shakuhachi Festival www.worldshakuhachifestival08.com