TaikoProject Returns to Ford Theatre Saturday

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In addition to taiko, TaikoProject’s concerts feature a variety of instruments, including koto, marimba and flutes. (Photo by Soupy Bouasaysy)

TaikoProject managing director Bryan Yamami is looking forward to a classic night under the stars in Hollywood on Saturday night.

“The Ford is a great venue, with a great staff, and we’re lucky enough to have had great weather every time we’ve played there,” Yamami said Wednesday.

TaikoProject will return to Ford Theatre with something new added to its crowd-pleasing drum rhythms – a musical fusion with Middle Eastern percussion.

“Rhythmic Relations 2013,” the group’s sixth annual taiko production, comes with their first collaboration with percussionist Amir Sofi. Sofi’s powerful instrument, known as the darbuka (goblet drum), complements TaikoProject’s traditional taiko drums, koto and custom-made marimbas.

The first half of the concert will feature drumming groups Bombu Taiko, Kitsune Taiko, Loma Pacific Taiko and Tanuki Taiko in an exuberant program that includes more than 60 drummers.

In the second half, guest artist Sofi joins TaikoProject for new collaborative works blending taiko with the Arabic tabla and tambourine.

Sofi and Yamami first met three years ago while performing together with pop legend Stevie Wonder at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee, and they have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate ever since.

“It’s certain to be an unforgettable evening, taking taiko to its artistic limits and beyond,” said Yamami.

Since its founding in 2000, TaikoProject has been dazzling audiences with its unique contemporary blend of taiko with storytelling, music and choreography.

Winner of the top award at the fourth annual Tokyo International Taiko Contest, TaikoProject has performed around the world in such places as Hong Kong, Dubai, the U.K. and Mexico. TaikoProject has been featured in everything from commercials to television shows to awards shows, performing alongside such musical superstars as Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Usher, John Legend and Justin Bieber. Most recently, they were featured in rock band 30 Seconds to Mars’ music video “Up in the Air,” and are the recipients of major grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Japan Foundation.

“Rhythmic Relations 2013” gets under way Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m. Reserved seating is $25-30; full-time students with ID $15, and children ages 12 and under are $12. Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or by calling (323) 461-3673 (for non-visual media 323 GO 1-FORD). For discounts for groups of eight or more, call (323) 769-2147.

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