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Friday, Jan. 20, 2006

Beating a different drum

Jinichi Hiranuma has an open-minded approach to taiko (Japanese drumming). As founder of the taiko troupe Tokyo Dageki Dan, Hiranuma brings a populist mind-set to this historic Japanese musical form, unafraid to throw pop and jazz elements into his arrangements. The distinctive sound can be heard firsthand when Tokyo Dageki Dan perform at Harmony Hall (Large Hall) in Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture on Jan. 28 (6 p.m. start) and at Tiara Koto (Large Hall), in Tokyo's Koto Ward, on Feb. 10.

The faces of the six boyish-looking members of Tokyo Dageki Dan belie the fact that the troupe has been performing for a decade. Hiranuma has taken his charges around the world to play, including to France, where the troupe represented Japan at the closing ceremony of soccer's 1998 World Cup in France.

Hiranuma was formerly a member of Kodo, a well-known taiko troupe that recently toured. But after 10 years in Kodo, Hiranuma split to perform all his own material and pursue his own vision, one that relies solely on natural sounds and fleshes out the taiko drums with bamboo flute.

Tickets for both shows are 3,800 yen, available from Ticket PIA.

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