Taiko Drumming and other things Japanese at Royal Armouries

Taiko-Drumming-Web-Banner1Royal Armouries 20th February 2015

I remembered to book the day off but forgot to book the event so I missed out on the first part of what I had hoped to experience

At 12:00 there was a Drum Workshop. I love drums and other percussion instruments, I have a few at home and have played some in public for relaxation and for charity. I’m no expert but I have rhythm, handy if you are a percussionist. So I was sad to miss out on this, some lovely drums… never mind I made it to the show at 15:00

There were a number of other attractions during Half-Term week, I often publicisde what is going on at the Arouries even if I am not going but I have been caught up with Dredd articles and work.

The Royal Armouries has a large collection of arms and armour from around the world. Much of it given as gifts from Heads of State to Ambassadors, Governors and Monarchs of Britain. The armouries is an extension of the collection of the Tower of London, a Royal collection in a National Museum. As such it is free to enter. Though some activities do have a small charge.

It was £6.00 for the Drum Workshop, £6.00 for the Drum Show or £10.00 for both. As I say I had planned to do both but forgot to book promptly. In any event I also planned looking around the museum and taking in an interpretation or two.

Interpretations are where a member of staff gives a talk on some of the items in the collection, with a short piece of drama to fire the imagination. There are obviously as varied a collection of these interpretations as there is arms and armour in the collection. I have been to the Armouries many times, I live in Leeds so it is local for me, the two I saw on Friday were first viewings for me.

20150220_130447The first was regarding the weapons, armour and history of the Samurai. Andy Deane took us through a number of moves with the weapons and gave an interesting brief insight to the evolution of the weapons and armour. As I say it was brief, there is only so much that can be fit in to a 20 minute slot that can entertain an all-age audience. After the interpretation Andy and a colleague were on hand for photo opportunities with the weapons and to answser questions.

The second interpretation was about the trader John saris who travelled from Europe to Japan hoping to open up trade to find another Englishman already there and already with the ear of the Shogun. That man was William Adams who so impressed the Shogun he became one of his top advisors and was considered a Samurai in the eyes of the law, answerable only to the Shogun himself. The James Clavell book and subsequent TV series were based on the life of William Adams, though to avoid any confusion of fact and fiction this wasn’t mentioned. Instead everything was told from the point of John Saris.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I attended the Taiko Drum Concert. Joji Horota led a trio, with Keisuke Morya and Akinori Fujimoto, using a laeg array of drums and other percussion instruments. It was a spirited and enticing recital and I could feel myself grinning throughout. There were several different tunes played by the trio and a solo piece from the master. The audience was clearly moved by the energy and at the end there was a roaring trade for CDs. I saw more than one person buy three different CDs, I was limited to just one due to where payday falls (end of the month). The energy from the audience at this point was tangible.

Taiko Drums in action



A Tokagawa Mounted Samurai


A Selection of Japanese Firearms



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