Their records show that the last time the Mugenko Taiko Drummers played Chichester was the Festival Theatre in 1999.
High time that they returned then, and this time they’re playing the Cathedral Wednesday, July 4, 7.30pm, the latest chapter in a remarkable story for the company.
Thundering rhythms on huge Taiko drums, Mugenkyo are the foremost exponent of the dynamic art of Japanese drumming in Europe. Powerful rhythms, percussive soundscapes and delicate bamboo flutes combine in a spellbinding display of choreography and athleticism.
Miyuki Williams, one of the founder members and lead drummers with the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, said: “The group has been going since 1994. Basically, the group was started by Neil and myself. We travelled to Japan, and it was one of those moments where our lives just suddenly took a different path while we were there. We ended up staying for two years.
“I had a job teaching English out there, and Neil came out on holiday. Neil had previously been a drummer in a lot of different bands, and while he was visiting, someone said ‘Have you seen Taiko drumming?’ I had seen it because I am half Japanese, but Neil hadn’t. We went along to a concert, and we were just blown away at the incredible power of it.
“Neil asked our sensei (teacher) to teach him, and he said yes, but he said that Neil had to commit and to stay. I had no intention of starting drumming, but I went along as an translator. But then I just got hooked on it as well. For Neil, because he was a drummer before, in some ways it was obvious. But for me, it was the whole world of Taiko that opened up. There is so much more to it than just drumming. There is a social element as well, and we also learnt to how to direct our key energy. When you play the drums, you are not just hitting the drums; you are directing your life force.”