I want to take a moment to tell you about one of the most dazzling live performances that I have seen in a long time. On November 15, 2009, I went to the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts to see Yamato: The Drummers of Japan in Matsuri.
As their program notes explained:
“Matsuri translates into English as ‘festival.’ In Japan, matsuri and Japanese drums are inseparable. Japanese mythology and performing arts originated from these matsuri. As soon as the drums began to play, people would gather around, dancing and singing, and so the matsuri began. The word matsuri also means ‘respect:’ respect God and pray to God. We would like to capture the essence of a matsuri event by showing our appreciation and respect for God in our performance as well.”
That being said, I must now tell you that the Yamato Drummers of Japan put on a show that is nothing short of astounding! They are acrobatic, humorous, spiritual, highly dynamic, and extremely entertaining. They would often start a piece with delicate rhythms that drew the audience into the performance, only to develop into lightning-fast beats played in thunderous fashion. The tone and power of the drums has a way of creeping into the heart and quickening the pulse. The occasional involvement of other traditional Japanese instruments (such as the koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi) augments the aural fascination. This is an astonishing spectacle!
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing
of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out
on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that,
having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs
having the hope of eternal life.”