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Friday, Sep. 23, 2011

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New beat: Tambuco Percussion Ensemble consists of (from left): Raul Tudon, Ricardo Gallardo, Alfredo Bringas and Miguel Gonzales.

Mexican drummers play Japanese sounds

Staff writer

The award-winning Tambuco Percussion Ensemble will perform next month at Toppan Hall in Tokyo while in the capital to receive an award from the Japan Foundation.

The Mexican quartet was formed in 1993 and consists of Ricardo Gallardo, Alfredo Bringas, Miguel Gonzales and Raul Tudon. While the performance centers around drums, the group makes use of other instruments including xylophones and cowbells; they also play one song by clapping their hands.

Tambuco Percussion Ensemble also performs a lot of contemporary Japanese music. The group has experimented in particular with Japanese drums such as ōdaiko (big drums) and shimedaiko (a drum with a short, wide body).

The quartet has also collaborated with Japanese musicians Nanae Yoshimura, who plays the 20-stringed koto, and Kifu Mitsuhashi, who plays shakuhachi. Both artists will make appearances at the upcoming Tokyo performance as guest soloists.

It was for their foray into traditional Japanese music that Tambuco Percussion Ensemble will be honored by the Japan Foundation with an award for Arts and Culture. The group is set to receive the honor in a ceremony to be held Oct. 11. The following day, the group will also be granted an audience with the Emperor and Empress.

The award has been bestowed on a non-Japanese act only one other time in its 28 years. According to the Japan Foundation, Tambuco has contributed in promoting Japanese culture internationally through its music.

Tambuco Percussion Ensemble play Toppan Hall in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, on Oct. 7 (7 p.m.) Admission costs ¥2,500 (¥1,500 for students). For more information, visit www.toppanhall.com or www.tambuco.org.

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