Drums take over Okinawa National Theater
By Yuma Sunakawa
The thunder of drums is slated to take over the Okinawa National Theater in Jitchaku, Urasoe, on Sunday, May 31st, when the famed Lequios and other drum groups take the stage for the “Session of Drums” performance.
This is the first time in almost six years that this kind of performance has taken place on the island. Taiko drums have a mythological origin in Japanese folklore but historical records suggest that they were introduced to Japan through Korean and Chinese cultural influence as early as the 6th century.
Their function has varied through history, ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment, and religious ceremonies to both festival and concert performances.
In Okinawa Taiko drums are very important instruments in Okinawan traditional performing arts and local festivals. In Japan, ensemble playing on different drums was developed in the 1950’s and has continued as a popular form of entertainment to this day, with several performing groups touring the world outside Japan. Many groups also add vocals, strings and woodwind instruments to their performances.
In this event, the audience can enjoy many kinds of drum performances, such as Okinawan Eisa, Japanese Taiko, and creative and original Taiko. The highlight of this event is a collaboration of Okinawan traditional Eisa and Japanese Taiko by the Requios drum group.
Requios is an Okinawan performing group that has won the Worldwide Eisa Festival championship three years in a row. Their passionate and heart-beat like performance is a part of Okinawan culture that everyone visiting or living on Okinawa should enjoy at least once.
The Session of Drums performance takes place at Okinawa National Theater on Sunday, May 31st starting 2 p.m. Tickets cost ¥3,100 and are available at the Okinawa National Theater. Their telephone number is (098) 871-3350 (in Japanese only).