'Taika to Tabla'

Concert held at Unity Theatre

Review by Colin Serjent

Although billed as a concert, the Taiko to Tabla world music event at the Unity sometimes had the resemblance of a workshop, demonstrating the complex range of acoustic instruments from different parts of the world that were on array here.

I have attended and enjoyed many world music concerts and festivals, usually staged by WOMAD, but this gig lacked a certain spontaneity or spark in the way the music was presented.

Nevertheless Japanese musician Joji Hirota, who has worked with Jah Wobble and Bill Evans, was outstanding, notably his feverish playing of the Japanese drum, - he climaxed the final part of the two halves of the event with blood stirring performances on the instrument - his evocative renditions on the Japanese bamboo, and his plaintive singing of Japanese folk songs.

Horoti also had a very warm sense of humour, which brought a light touch to the gig, in describing his methods of playing, which at times had the audience in peals of laughter.

Musically speaking, I was less impressed with his partner, English musician Pete Lockett, who has formerly worked with Bjork, Vanessa Mae and Beth Orton. When playing together with Horoti, the two combined well, but when performing in a solo role, he disappointed me with his functional and uninspiring use, for instance, of the Cuban bongos and Indian tabla.

The concert would have been a good introduction for people getting interested for the first time with different forms of world music, but for someone like myself, who has been involved with different types of this musical genre for a long time, it did not leave many lasting memories.