After twelve months of conceptualising, discussing, composing, work-shopping, tweaking, talking, thinking and rehearsing, The Beauty Of 8 finally received its World Premiere on October 23-24 at Sydney’s York Theatre.
And what a couple of nights it proved to be! With poetry, percussion, dance, shakuhachi, song, and electronica – not to mention Bart Groen’s stunning set, Karen Norris’ luminous lighting and Ross A’hern’s sensitive sound design – all adding to the sound of our thunderous taiko, The Beauty Of 8 was more than just a taiko concert; international guest artist Chieko Kojima brought a level of sophistication and expressiveness that was not only beguiling, but also deeply spiritual – her mystical dance and stunning taiko playing was transcendent – and this, coupled with Riley Lee’s mellifluous shakuhachi, made for a truly wondrous combination.
In the 1970s, Chieko and Riley were members of the now-legendary taiko group Ondekoza, appearing together on many of the world’s great theatre and concert hall stages, and here we were – some 40 years later – hearing-seeing-feeling the results of these two consummate artists working together again!
In fact, it was Riley who introduced Taikoz to Chieko back in 2009 when we collaborated with members of Kodo. From the first rehearsal I just loved Chieko’s – what’s the best word? – alive-ness! Her spontaneity, creativity and sheer love of play seems to infect all who come into her orbit. And I must say it was an absolute thrill to have the opportunity to frame The Beauty Of 8 around Chieko’s skills and to (try and) capture her unique spirit.
Over the course of the past 18 years Taikoz’s aim has been to push the boundaries of our chosen medium, to deepen our collective expression and to explore our many-faceted sound-world. Thank you to all who came along for the ride and enjoyed Chieko, Riley and Taikoz in The Beauty Of 8.