Since the beginning of his solo career 40 years ago, Eitetsu Hayashi has played on five continents with some of the most venerated orchestras of the world, collaborated with artists of various musical genres and received numerous awards and honors for his extraordinary performances.
The artist’s evolution has inspired the renaissance of taiko culture in Japan, where at the present moment there are more than 4,000 ensembles of this kind. The new generation of rap enthusiasts learns taiko in schools and transposes the sounds of traditional music and imperial court music in a contemporary manner.
Eitetsu Hayashi, born in 1952, is the youngest of eight children in a family of a of a Shingon Buddhist monk. He grew up listening to The Beatles and in high school he was already playing western drums. In 1971 he joins the taiko Sado Ondekoza group, a project that combined a military life style with taiko drumming lessons “We needed the impact of rock group, the kind of impact that creates a frenzy in the crowd for hours. That is why we ended doing the marathon training. We would wake up every day at 4 in the morning, run and study drums in the evening.”
In 1975 the group has its first concert after finishing the Boston Marathon, a performance repeated six times over the years. After ten years spent in Ondekoza, in 1981 Eitetsu leaves the band together with other members to start their own group, Kodo. However, in 1982 the artist will leave this group also to start his solo career, debuting in 1984. With “Symphohnic Metamorphoses part 3”, Eitetsu Hayashi is the first solo wadaiko artist to perform at the Carnegie hall in New York.
The eighties were filled with tours in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia. Through his unique style of drumming the wadaiko Eitetsu becomes an important personality of the musical world and revolutionizes the taiko playing. Therefore, in 1993 Isao Matsushita composes for him Hi-Ten-Yu, the concerto for Japanese drums and octet being especially written for the virtuous Eitetsu and members of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Over the years Eitetsu Hayashi plays alongside the Boston Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa (1976, 1999), Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano (2000) and the Australian group Taikoz at the reopening of the Sidney Opera house in 2000. Eitetsu also collaborates with jazz, world music dance and butoh artists, like the djembe percussionist Mamady Keita, the avant-gardist pianist Yosuke Yamashita or the Toshiko Akiyoshi jazz orchestra.
In 2002 celebrated his 20th career anniversary by touring the U.S. with the “Wings of the Flightless Birds only to come back in 2006 to teach in Ohio as part of a program where students not only learned to play the taiko but also played along with the artist. In august 2010 Eitetsu repeated the experience in Moscow with 15 people of different ages and backgrounds.
During his career Eitetsu composed music for other Taiko groups, commercials, drama and even films. Hayashi has even reached the anime public, by composing for the movie Kamui no ken (1985), borrowing his voice to the Shinban no kikuasha character. In 2004 he composes with Kaoru Wada the score for Samurai 7, a remake of the classic Shichinin no samurai. Except for music Eitetsu has also written essays, a book “To the taiko drummers of tomorrow” and since 2001 he teaches and the Mie National University.
His artistic activities as well as his contributions have been so well received that in 1997 he was awarded the National Japanese Award for culture and in 2001 he received the 8th award for promoting traditional Japanese culture, by the Japanese Arts Foundation.
Eitetsu created a method and personal style of drumming the wadaiko, unmet until then in the Japanese tradition of drumming the taiko. By using a unique combination of taiko drums the artist has created and interpreted original music, pioneering in a series of complete new experimental musical areas. His experiment received support and now there are numerous groups and players using his style, influenced by all the traditional forms he has studied and yet resembling none. The concerts will take place on October 20th at Palace Hall, Bucharest and 23rd October at Thalia Hall in Sibiu.
An event organized by ARTmania events supported by the Japanese Embassy in Romania, Tokyo mMetropolitan Government, Japan Foundation, Sibiu Local Council by Sibiu Town Hall and Sibiu District Council, in partnership with Sibiu International Theatre Festival.
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Taiko: in translation from Japanese it means drum, however it is used outside Japan to define different types of traditional Japanese drums and the somewhat young art of playing these instruments, following the structure of a musical ensemble, kumi daiko. Wa daiko is translated as Japanese (wa) drum (daiko).
Odaiko– Japanese drum made out of a block of keyake (Japanese elm tree) hundreds of years old, it measures 130 cm in diameter and for playing it sticks made out of hinoki (cypress) are used.
Butoh (ankoku butoh – dance of darknesss) it’s a Japanese avant-garde dancing style not resembling neither the traditional Japanse dancing style nor the European one.