Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Banging the Drum

That's my backstage pass from a gig in Shimokitazawa (Below North Creek), a hip little pocket of Tokyo. That is, hip until sometime last month. That's when my band of drummers (Kitamada) and I teamed up with some cool kids from the isle of Hachijojima to play a small club there. That's the moment I'm afraid the whole place went Jersey (that's bowling talk for right into the gutter) and Shimokitazawa's cool straight up the creek. That's that I guess and that leaves nothing to do now but bang the drum slowly for what was once trendy.

That's a sample of Hachijo Taiko (a style of Japanese drumming unique to the isle of Hachijojima) from Kitamda's Yoshio and Harumi Endo. In the world of Japanese drumming, or wadaiko, hachijo taiko is an island unto itself where Yoshio Endo is something of a legend. The song is traditional but beyond that nothing is scripted here. There are no notes on paper and nothing to memorize. The rhythm just flows like waves on the water in a musical odyssey that sweeps you away in whatever direction the wind happens to be blowing that day. Born on an island that was once used to confine political dissidents and others, this misfit isle of music known as hachijo taiko is hemmed in only by that realm of endless possibilities known as the imagination. That is kind of cool after all I guess. 

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