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UCSB Arts & Lectures Presents World-Renowned Percussion Group Yamato

Witness a performance unlike any other at UCSB Campbell Hall when Japanese percussion troupe Yamato performs.
Witness a performance unlike any other at UCSB Campbell Hall when Japanese percussion troupe Yamato performs. (Masa Ogawa / Yamato photo)

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Yamato, The Drummers of Japan, with two opportunities to see the world-renowned taiko group perform its new program, "Bakuon: Legend of the Heartbeat," Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, at 3 p.m. (1-hour family fun program) and 7 p.m. (full program) at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Renowned for its tremendous athleticism and theatrical flair, the remarkable Japanese taiko drumming ensemble Yamato returns to Santa Barbara for a spectacular, high-energy performance of its new program, "Bakuon: Legend of the Heartbeat."

Inspired by the sound of the heartbeat in every one of us — continuous from birth to death, pulsing quiet and strong — Yamato weaves this beat into its story.

Each beat from the taiko drums represents who we are. It is a life’s history of sweat and tears and the endless memories recorded in the sound of every heartbeat, all on display “in a show of unbridled enthusiasm, much humor and great musical variety” (The Scotsman).

Yamato was founded by Masa Ogawa in 1993 in Nara, “the land of Yamato,” which is said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture.

Presently based in Asuka Village, Nara Prefecture, Yamato travels all over the word with Japan’s traditional wadaiko drums, putting its very souls into their instruments, whose sound stirs the hearts of people everywhere.

Yamato seeks new expression with wadaiko as its backbone. Yamato thinks of the sound of the drums — made of animal skin and ancient trees, some of which are more than 400 years old — as a pulse or heartbeat (Shin-on), the center of life and the source of power which pulsates within the human body.

Yamato attempts to create the energy of life, which envelops the audience and performers. What one feels when surrounded by the sound of wadaiko, brought out by these highly trained performers, is what the Japanese call tamashii, translated as soul, spirit and psyche, the basic elements of life.

It is something which is invisible and intangible but whose existence is certainly felt. The pulse, carried down from antiquity, will resonate within all the bodies gathered at the performance.

Click here to view a trailer for Yamato’s "Bakuon."
Tickets for the 3 p.m. family fun program are $20 for adults and $12 for children ages 12 & under. Tickets for the full-length evening performance range from $25-$40 for the general public and $15 for UCSB students and youths ages 18 and under with valid I.D.
For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or purchase online at
ParentClickSanta Barbara Family Life Magazine, and Santa Barbara Independent are media sponsors for Yamato, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

UCSB Arts & Lectures gratefully acknowledges the generous support of SAGE for its major corporate support of the 2015-16 season.

Caitlin O'Hara is the senior writer and publicist for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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