“High energy action … hand and drumstick seem almost to melt into each other in a perfect synergy of man and instrument.” The Australian

1Australia’s world-acclaimed taiko drumming ensemble, TaikOz, presents a stunning work Crimson Sky featuring Satsuki Odamura on Bass Koto. TaikOz will be performing two shows only 10 & 11 October, 7:30pm at NORPA at Lismore City Hall. The company is also offering a drumming workshop on Friday10 Oct 4pm at NORPA.

Introspection, meditative melodies and thunderous might sit alongside light-hearted exuberance in TaikOz’s Crimson Sky touring throughout regional Australia in 2014. Australia’s cultural icons and premiere drumming ensemble present virtuoso Satsuki Odamura on bass koto in a new masterwork, Crimson Sky, composed by TaikOz Artistic Director Ian Cleworth.

With shakuhachi and shinobue (bamboo flutes), voice and bass koto (a traditional Japanese 17 string plucked instrument) Crimson Sky features all the elements TaikOz is famous for – hypnotic rhythms and adrenalin-fuelled performance. Flowing and rippling, the work’s textures show the extremes of musical dynamics – thunderous drumming and translucent bamboo flute melodies.

Audiences will be thrilled to hear an instrument rarely heard in Australia – the bass koto – with legendary bass koto player Satsuki Odamura performing solo segments in the piece.

Based on a haiku by Japanese poet Miura Yuzuru, Crimson Sky is a colourful new work that evokes autumnal clouds, sky and dragonflies.

Toward the Crimson Sky (haiku by Miura Yuzuru)

aka-tombo red dragonflies

sarasara nagaru flowing like a ripple

akane-zora toward the crimson sky

“I have long enjoyed the English translation of this haiku by Miura Yuzuru,” says Ian Cleworth. “The poet’s images conjure thoughts and feelings that are on the one hand beautiful, colourful and sensual, and on the other, intensely – almost painfully – poignant and emotionally affecting.”

“The autumnal image of a cloud of dragonflies flying into a deep red sky arouses visions of impending death, whereas the reference to ‘flowing like a ripple’ is both playfully lighthearted and sensuous with a strong feeling of choreographed movement.”

The concert also features two new works by TaikOz members: Tom Royce-Hampton (Solace) and Anton Lock (Exploration). Solace is quiet, reflective and melodious and Exploration is highly rhythmic, dynamic and energetic featuring virtuosic playing from Graham Hilgendorf on the drum set.

‘Taiko’ is the Japanese word for ‘drum’ and TaikOz is Australia’s premier taiko drumming group. A TaikOz performance, however, is more than just the beating of drums: it incorporates a complete world of drumming, song and dance that on the one hand harks back to ancient Buddhist and Shinto rituals and on the other, is a reflection of contemporary musical life, irrespective of nationality. While once a uniquely Japanese art form, its transformation into an international language is a recent phenomenon and one in which TaikOz is very much at the forefront.

Now in its 18th year, the group’s passionate dedication to blending traditional taiko practice with contemporary Australian and Japanese compositions results in a spectacular performance of physical prowess and heart thumping sound. A TaikOz performance is not just for the ears and the eyes, but is felt throughout the entire body.

About TaikOz

This is the TaikOz credo: ‘to beat with every muscle, bone and sinew in our bodies, with an open and joyous spirit.’

Since 1997 TaikOz has established a unique performance aesthetic that reflects the group’s passionate dedication to the forms of wadaiko and a desire to create new music for today’s audiences. The group undertakes a year round schedule of workshops, teaching and performances that have seen them appear on the stages of Australia’s finest concert halls, as well as those of Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi and most recently the USA, where TaikOz gave a series of performances on the West Coast, culminating in headline appearances in the “Taiko Nation” concerts at the World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles. The group regularly appears in the theatres of regional Australia, having undertaken four Australia-wide tours.

TaikOz has composed over twenty-five original works for wadaiko including several in combination with instruments such as shakuhachi, koto, marimba, saxophone, cello and didgeridoo. Distinguished composers, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino, Michael Askill, David Pye, Philip South, Graeme Koehne and Timothy Constable have also written works for the ensemble.

TaikOz has collaborated with artists and companies as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, Eitetsu Hayashi and Eitetsu Fuun no Kai, Meryl Tankard and Regis Lansac. In 2012, TaikOz collaborated with Kodo on a nation-wide tour of Australia. The group has also appeared in concerto works with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. Awards include Limelight “Best New Composition Award” for Kaidan, Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of TaikOz’s commitment to Australian music and a Drover Award for regional touring and education.


TaikOz performances of Crimson Sky:

FRI 10 OCT & SAT 11 OCT 7;30pm

Olive & Luca diner, bar & live music from 6pm

NORPA at Lismore City Hall

Bookings: 1300 066 772 or

Adults $47 | Seniors $42 | Concession $40 | Under 18 $20

Groups of 4 or more $40 per ticket

1 hour 55 mins (including interval)


TaikOz drumming workshop:

FRI 10 OCT, 4pm – 5:30pm

NORPA at Lismore City Hall

$15 – limited spaces available

Bookings: 1300 066 772

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