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THEATRE: 07 SEPTEMBER 2014

By JOHN ROZENTALS

Toward the Crimson Sky, various compositions by Ian Cleworth, Tom Royce-Hampton & Anton Lock | Music director Graham Hilgendorf

Taikoz | Glen Street Theatre, Belrose, Sydney | On tour through NSW, Victoria, Queensland & Northern Territory. CLICK HERE for details.

Red dragonflies
Flowing like a ripple
Toward the crimson sky

They’re simple, but very beautiful, words that make up Miura Yusuru’s haiku.

They’re also the inspiration for Ian Cleworth’s composition Crimson Sky, which takes up the entire second half of Taikoz’s current performance of the same name.

Taikoz is an Australian drumming ensemble which definitely has its heart in Japan, specifically in that country’s love of rhythmic, spectacular percussion.

It’s an ensemble you should see at least once in your life and right now it’s on an extensive tour that will take its sometimes frenetic, sometimes quite melancholy performance through New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Don’t make the mistake, though, of just closing your eyes and listening to the music, which is especially melodic when the drummers are joined by Satsuki Odamura, a special guest performer on the koto and bass koto, quite remarkable Japanese string instruments in their own right.

Or when Taikoz’s Kevin Man brings his Japanese flutes on to the stage.

Crimson Sky is at least as much about the spectacle, precision and athleticism of the performance as it is about the virtuosity of the sound.

And the drumming isn’t all about filling the space with noise. Never before have I heard drums played so gently and softly as Taikoz showed me they could be.

Then you really can close your eyes and imagine you’re on a misty Japanese mountain watching red dragonflies flowing like a ripple toward the crimson sky.

Satsuki Odamura.