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TOKYO

African group drums up a party

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

The African drumming theater is back, providing people with a fun and entertaining way of letting off some steam and experiencing a new culture.

“Drumstruck,” a Johannesburg-born musical, is an interactive experience where each member of the audience will be provided with a 61-cm-tall drum to play and make music alongside 11 South and West African percussionists. Having toured Australia and China, and following a long run at an Off-Broadway theater in New York, the cast is back in Japan for its sixth visit from Wednesday.

The performances are the brainchild of drummer Warren Lieberman, who started organizing the drumming shows in 1997 by inviting strangers into his cafe in Johannesburg to join him on the drums. Past attendees of his shows have included Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth and former U.S. President George W. Bush, according to organizers.

“When people drum in a group, the music that is created is a blend of all the personalities, ages, colors and emotions that are present in that group,” Lieberman says. “The music unites the group, harmonizes our feelings, and takes away our stresses and pains. … ‘Drumstruck’ is an energetic and joyous celebration of music that brings to light the potential of human creativity in uniting people.”

“Drumstruck” starts Aug. 14 and runs till Aug. 25 at the Galaxy Theater in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. Admission is ¥8,000 for adults and ¥5,000 for those who are younger than 18. For more information, visit hpot.jp/drumstruck/english.