The taiko ensemble Indra was founded in 2013 by Ishizuka Yū (b 1978), the eldest son of a well-known Nō-theatre musician (hayashikata) Mochizuki Saburō.
The name “Indra” refers to one of the main Gods in the Vedas. Ishizuka Yū is also known under the name Takewaka Mochizuki or hōgaku-bayashi-kata meaning that he has been officially acknowledged as a bearer of Mochizuki tradition.
Besides Yū, 4 other members belong to the ensemble, among them Yū’s sister Eri who has also received an education in the traditional music studying different flutes and percussion with her father and other great masters. Indra’s musicians pay a lot of attention to choreography and master Japanese classical dance – hayashi and buyō styles as well as lion dance (shishimai).
A characteristic trait of the ensemble are their compositions based on the Nō and Kabuki traditions as well as different taiko playing techniques from various festivities which charm the audiences by their rich sound and virtuosity.
Indra is arranging regular taiko courses and is actively collaborating with various traditional and rock musicians. Several musicians of Indra are also long-standing members of Oedu Sukeroku taiko ensemble. The younger brother of Ishizuka Yū is currently playing in the world-famous taiko ensemble Kōdo.
Ensemble Indra: Ishizuka Eri, Inoue Nanase, Ōkawa Masashi, Motoyama Yūhei
Download high-resolution photograph of Indra (jpg, RGB, 300 dpi, 5.5 MB)
Taiko (太鼓) means ‘drum’ in Japanese. Outside Japan, the word is often used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums and to the relatively recent art-form of ensemble taiko drumming. Taiko drums have been developed into a wide range of percussion instruments that are used in Japanese folk, ritual and classical musical traditions.
Taiko, in general, are stick percussion instruments. With the exception of the kotsuzumi and ootsuzumi, all taiko are struck with bachi. They have heads on both sides of the drum body, and a sealed resonating cavity. Taiko are also characterized by a high amount of tension on the drums heads, with a correspondingly high pitch relative to body size. This high tension likely developed in response to Japan’s wet and humid summers when most festivals take place. Many taiko are not tunable, and a drum with high head tension would counteract the slacking effects of humidity.
Taiko are categorized into 2 types of construction. Byou-uchi daiko (鋲撃ち太鼓) have heads nailed to the body. Tsukushime-daiko (付締 め太鼓) have heads sewn onto iron rings, which are then laced to each other around the drum body. Byou-uchi daiko are typically hollowed out of a single piece of wood. The preferred wood is keyaki (欅) due to its density and beautiful grain, but a number of other woods are used. Byou-uchi daiko cannot be tuned, and their sizes are limited by the diameter of the tree they are made from. The typical byou-uchi daiko is the nagado-daiko (長胴太鼓, long-body taiko). Nakado-daikos are available in a variety of sizes, from 12 to 36 inches (head diameter). Nagado-daikos over 36 inches are also available, but they are referred to as ōdaiko (大太鼓, ‘great drum’). The largest ōdaikos (with a length of 2.4 m, a maximum diameter of 2.4 m, a weight of 3 tons, made out of a single piece of wood from a 1200 year old tree) are too big to move and permanently reside inside a temple or shrine. Tsukeshime-daiko are available in a wide variety of styles, and are tunable. This style of taiko is typically tensioned before each performance. The tensioning system is usually rope, but bolt systems and turnbuckles have been used as well. Tsukeshime-daiko can either have stitched heads placed on bodies carved from single piece of wood, such as the shime-daiko and tsuzumi, or stitched heads placed on a stave-construction body such as the okedo-daiko.
See also: Festival Orient, Orient 2013, Orient 2011, Orient presents in 2010, Orient 2009, Orient presents in 2008, Orient 2007, Orient presents in 2006, Orient 2005, Festival archives Orient in Palmyra (Voices from the Stars Above the Desert), The Path to the Heart of Asia (CD recorded with featuring musicians of Orient 1992)
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Special thanks: EAS, Alar Metsson, Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia, HE Gary K. Y. Ko, Gustavo Chu, Eesti Kontsert, Madis Kolk, Urmas Paet, Kaire Jürgenson, Valdo Helmelaid, Hedi Palipea, Meliisa Marianne Palipea, Kadrioru Park, Ain Järve