Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers: Beat Grrrls
- Henry Northmore
- 5 August 2019
Powerful, physical, rhythmic drumming
Traditionally, women weren't even allowed to touch Taiko drums. Now the women of South Lanarkshire's Mugen Taiko Dojo – the first purpose-built centre for Taiko drumming in the UK – have taken charge for this year's all-female Fringe show.
A powerful performance of percussive beats showcasing the ancient art of Japanese drumming, it's hypnotic and primal, the beats churning and reverberating through the audience. The show is an entrancing display of physicality, precision and discipline. 'Hibiki' in particular impresses with its lightning fast synchronisation across multiple drums. It looks utterly exhausting, with all five musicians bashing out complex rhythms on these huge barrel sized instruments. Yet they never miss a beat - in fact one member of the group broke her foot during the previous night's show but is still on stage, proving their complete commitment to their art.
Reading through the programme, you learn the chanting and rhythms are loaded with meaning and spirituality. Inevitably, it does get repetitive over the course of an hour, practically pummelling you into submission, but there are moments of humour and reflection. This is drumming as a martial art, rather than simply musical enjoyment.
Assembly Rooms, until 24 Aug, 5.30pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14).