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Event aims to drum up cross-cultural ‘magic’

by Tomoko Otake

Four Tokyo-based drummers from quite different backgrounds will get together on May 14 for a cross- cultural improvisational jam titled “Dagakkibashi” (“Percussion Bridge”).

The one-off event, at Superdeluxe in Nishi-Azabu, central Tokyo, will be a unique opportunity for music lovers to see four amazing drummers strut their stuff — individually and as a group.

Featured are Ryutaro Kaneko, a former member of the renowned Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture-based taiko (traditional Japanese drumming) group Kodo; Samm Bennett, a percussionist versatile in mastering various (and sometimes crazy) instruments/toys; famed African drummer Winchester Nii Tete; and U-zhaan, a Japanese master of tabla, a set of two, small, hand-played drums from northern India.

Producer Daniel Rosen says the idea for the collaboration came from his past full-time work for Kodo, when he saw Kaneko performing with tabla master Zakir Hussein “for a mind-boggling jam” at the annual Earth Celebration festival on the island in the Sea of Japan.

“One of the things I loved about my Kodo experience was watching the collaborations between the taiko players and percussionists from other cultures,” Rosen explained. “Drums are such primal means of musical expression, and I think that makes cross-cultural percussion collaborations really intuitive and powerful.

“Once the musicians were in place, I developed a simple program designed to give each member time to shine and also to engage in profound collaboration with each other member. After that, it’s all up to the musicians to make the magic happen.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are ¥2,500 at the door. For details call (03) 5412-0515 or visit www.super-deluxe.com/2010/5/14/dagakkibashi/