Skip to main content
Skip to navigation
MU Logo University of Missouri

Mizzou Wire

Big and loud

Japanese drummers captivate local kids

Bookmark and Share
  • Story and audio by Lisa Bruce
  • Photos by Shane Epping
  • Published: Oct. 25, 2007
Yamato drummer

Adobe Flash 7 or higher and java script are required to view the slide show

Hear the heartbeat of Yamato, listen to the reaction of a few kids and learn more about the performers from producer Uriel Luft. This slide show contains audio. A transcript is available.

On the morning of Oct. 23, a cacophony of children’s voices — around 1,500 — filled Jesse Auditorium. Local school kids settled into their seats for a performance by Yamato, a Waidaiko (Japanese drum) group featured the previous evening in a full concert.

The low roar continued in the dark until the first beat reverberated through the audience. Eight drummers — including one playing the odaiko, made from a huge tree more than 400 years old  — rattled the auditorium. The students fell silent.

Many of the Yamato members sport spiky hair or mop-like ponytails, and they seem to be having as much fun as the kids — maybe even more. They do everything big: loud sounds, dramatic flourishes and acrobatic jumps with drums in tow. Then they add a sense of playfulness, competing with one another and engaging the audience in clapping and making sounds.

By the end of November, the group will have logged 207 performances this year — a grueling pace by anyone's standards. The endurance required to perform demands discipline, including five-hour workouts and daily running.

But hard work doesn’t seem to dampen their sense of joy. During the question and answer session after the performance, one little girl asked if they have fun. They all answered yes.

"I think it’s a good lesson for us to learn  — to have fun while doing what we’re doing, even when it is not easy," says Uriel Luft, producer.

Read more in:  On CampusEducationArts & Culture

Reader feedback

Let Mizzou Wire know what you think

E-mail the editor at MizzouWire@missouri.edu with your comments or questions. Note: If published, feedback may be edited for length, style and clarity.

Published by MU Web Communications, 265 McReynolds Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-884-8075 | Fax: 573-884-8074 | MizzouWire@missouri.edu

Copyright © — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information.

An equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012