Matsuri Shu at Kyoto Arts Centre

Tonight's Matsuri Shu concert surprised me by leaving me cold. Usually I love wa-daiko (Japanese drums) - mainly the regional festival rhythms, or variations of, based on strong simple steady beats/grids. It's humble and raw and summons the real thrill of universal vibes (literally), developing into a trance-like state.
If you play often, as in a pro-team, you become incredibly fit, and I guess you get new ideas, not least as your fitness allows. Today's concert was all original pieces and it was so complicated and variable and hyper-dramatic that it simply made me tired. The audience (all Japanese except 3 'obvious' foreigners incl. me) admired their stamina and called for an encore, at which point the flute player played Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring while the main man secretly made himself Christmassy. Next he ran down through the audience with his silk tassels now tinsel and wearing one of those reindeer headbands with felt antlers. Then they all played taiko to Jingle Bells on the flute. It went down a storm. I won't go on about it.

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