Last week wednesday i was invited by my friend Nancy, to attend the “Japanese Drum Night” hosted by the Intercontinental Hotel and the Japanese Embassy. This event is part of a cultural exchange happening this month to celebrate 50 years of Zambia-Japan diplomatic relations. In addition to the drum night the embassy in conjunction with Arcades Mall will be hosting free Japanese films and cultural events from the 16th-18th of this month.
I did not know what to expect from the drum night but I have to say I was blown away by the sheer talent of the performers. Kenichi Koizumi is one of the most powerful drummers I have ever witnessed, he started learning the Wadaiko (Japanese drums) from a young age. His artistry is incredible, he started off with a piece entiltled “Shibuki” meaning Splashes that was played on an okedo-taiko (tub drum). The piece provided a perfect ambience of splashing water and allowed my imagination o run free with images of waterfalls in nature.
Also performing was Naomi Koizumi who is an electric organ player but for this night she played the shinobue (Japanese bamboo flute). Her performance of the piece “Yoake-mae” meaning Before the Dawn was breathtaking, it was just very calming and peaceful.
Roudning out the talent was Keiko a trained classical ballerina who showcased her talent with Japanese dance and the wadaiko. Her dancing was elegant and graceful not to mention composed, she danced using a fan as a prop and a lot of hand movement. Then came her drum solo which was the most incredible act of hand-eye-movement coordination or just rhythm…listen i am just throwing words out there because I was blown away. You just had to be there.
There were so many pieces that were breath talking and took you away to a paradise. Some of my favorite moments were the duets between Kenichi and Naomi. One the stand outs was “Yabusame” (Horseback Archery) which actually sounded like horses galloping into a fight. I pictured an epic battle scene while i was listening to it, I seriously need to now write a film and get these guys to do the music score. It speaks very clearly to the visual and artistic mind.
Don’t forget to look out for the Japanese films at Arcades from the 16th of September, they are all free