Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Echizen Togei Daiko Drummers Next Tuesday

Next week will mark an exciting event on the UM campus. From a recent university press release:
The University of Montevallo will play host to visitors from the Far East when "Echizen Togei Daiko" drummers present a concert that will bring this ancient art form to the UM stage.

The free performance, sponsored in part by the UM Concert and Lecture Series, will be held Tuesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in LeBaron Recital Hall in the Davis Music Building.

Echizen Togei Daiko will present a unique drumming method called "Daizuri-Daiko,” which has been practiced in the Ota area of Japan since about 1600. However, the number of drum players has been decreasing from generation to generation. In 1972, the Association for the Preservation of Echizen Togei Daiko was established to preserve the long-standing tradition.

The program May 1 will include “Katsugi-Daiko,” in which the drummers place their drums on their shoulders; “Ho-nen Daiko,” which is taiko drumming for a fruitful year; “Gekiryu,” which means “torrent,” and features a strong, wide drum cadence; “Togei Bayashi,” swinging, lively festival music; “Amano-gawa Daiko,” which describes the flow of a river; and “Fu,” energetic music played on exceptionally large drums. The group also will present “Chigo-Zakura Daiko,” a representative program of the group. In 1997, “Chigo-Zakura Daiko” was officially designated as an intangible cultural asset of Miyazaki village, which is now part of the city of Echizen.

UM art professor Ted Metz, who is coordinating the visit, said a number of organizations have provided support for the Echizen Togei Daiko drummers. They include the City of Echizen in Japan, the Nozomi Daiko Drum Group from the Capstone International Program at the University of Alabama for the loan of instruments and the Japanese American Society of Alabama.

Planning has begun to form a “sister-city” relationship between Echizen and Montevallo. The May 1 performance is yet another link in the relationship between the two cities.

In 2003, Metz was instrumental in bringing a 19-member Gagaku troupe to Montevallo. Gagaku, which is Japanese Imperial Court music, was performed before a standing-room-only audience in LeBaron Recital Hall.

This is yet another terrific cultural opportunity for the UM community! We hope to give the Echizen performers a rousing Montevallo welcome.

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