TAIKO DRUMMERS (Japan)
Joji Hirota is no doubt one of Europeís most renowned percussionists. Born in Northern Japan, at the age of seven, he started a lifelong study of percussion. In 1972 Joji Hirota became the musical director and percussionist of the Red Buddha Theatre. In 1977 he joined the Lindsay Kemp Dance Company in which he performed the same duties. In 1991 he won the Time Out Award for best dance company for their production of "Onnagata" for which Hirota wrote and performed the music. During this period, Joji Hirota toured extensively throughout Europe, Mexico, Canada and the USA, South America and Japan.
Joji Hirota released four solo albums, "Sahasurara", "Wheel of Fortune" "Rain Forest Dream" and "The Gate" and went on tour with Peter Gabriel, Jah Woble, Guo Yue and the London Metropolitan Ensemble.
From the seventies onwards he is playing the Japanese drums and obtained thus the title of master drummer. In 2004 Joji received a commendation for his contribution to the introduction of the Japanese culture throughout the world.
A few years ago Hirota created his own taiko (drum) ensemble. He united the most talented in England resident taiko players and started to rehears intensively.
The ensemble played several concerts in England, all of them were sold out, performed at the opening of the Live Earth concert in Wembley stadium, and appeared on Womad festivals in UK and Korea.
Anyone who saw Joji Hirota performing knows that the level of quality lays extremely high. Vocal, bamboo flutes, sakuhachi and most of all a numerous quantity of Japanese drums, together they let the dust whirl from the sealing!