(Posted January 30, 2020)

HUNTINGDON— YAMATO: The Drummers of Japan will bring their high-energy, not-to-be-missed performance to Juniata College at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. 

The taiko drumming troupe’s performance is part of YAMATO’s JHONETSU—PASSION! tour and a part of the Juniata Presents performance art series. This ticketed event is open to the public. 

This 40-city tour marks the troupe’s 26th season, celebrating over 4,000 performances in 54 countries and reaching nearly eight million people. 

The modern and physically powerful troupe — comprised of dozens of musician-athletes – starts each performance by hitting a Japanese Taiko drum weighing half a ton, made from a single piece of wood from a 400-year-old tree. They move their whole bodies to strike the traditional Japanese instrument with the belief that the drumbeat, like the heartbeat, is the very pulse of life and the epitome of the Japanese spirit.  

“Everything related to YAMATO – the stage, the Taiko drums, every bit of our bodies – has been created from the energy and passion of the audience,” says founder and artistic director Masa Ogawa. “Live performances are so full of intensity that they make people's bodies jump and their hearts race faster. Audiences are overwhelmed by the beat of the music, as their spirits, bodies and heartbeats are uplifted in sync with the powerful sounds. What moves YAMATO forward is its passion.”

Employing “vibrant and extremely precise” choreography, YAMATO’s new program PASSION! has been deemed by London One “an exhilarating and worthwhile experience” and “quite a revelation for those experiencing this kind of dynamic performance for the first time.” 

Since their formation, YAMATO has been committed to preserving and respecting the Taiko tradition, while infusing originality and innovation into the ancient practice. Notably, YAMATO broke from Taiko’s long-standing patriarchy and has always included women in the troupe. And while the members train rigorously, YAMATO imbues each performance with joy and a sense of fun, breaking from the stereotypical stoicism associated with this ancient art form.  

For tickets or to learn more about Juniata Presents events, visit: www.juniatapresents.com, or call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admissions tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.  


Founded in 1993 in Japan’s Nara Prefecture and presently based in Asuka Village, said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture, YAMATO travels all over the word with Japan’s traditional Taiko drums, putting its very souls into the unusual instruments, whose sound stirs the hearts of people everywhere.  Over the past 26 years, the troupe has performed in 54 countries and regions, giving 4,000 performances for nearly eight million people.  They travel with about 40 Taiko drums, ranging in size from 10kg to 500kg.  The troupe lives within the Village and engages in daily strength training, instrument practice, and program rehearsal.  Always evolving the potential while respecting the tradition, YAMATO is a modern and relevant ambassador for Taiko drumming and for the Japanese culture from which it derives.      

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.