A spectacular close to Japanese Music Fest with GOCOO

GOCOO Tokyo Tribal Groove Orchestra on stage in Rome
An utterly thrilling performance in the Cavea by the GOCOO Tokyo Tribal Groove Orchestra brought the inaugural edition of the Japanese Music Fest to a close yesterday evening at the Auditorium Parco della Music in Rome. Organised in conjunction with the Japan Foundation, the three day festival explored themes of tradition and innovation in Japanese music and culture, and in particular, the point at which tradition and innovation merge. Who better, therefore, than GOCOO, an eleven-member Tokyo percussion band playing over 40 Taiko Japanese drums, in a hypnotic fusion of musical influences ranging from classical Japanese Taiko to hardcore techno dance, to bring the party to a close!

Autographed by Kaoly
Founded in 1997 in Tokyo by charismatic lead drummer Kaoly Asano, GOCOO are now hugely popular on the International festival circuit, and their utterly unique sound has also used been used in movie soundtracks (Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions) and in computer games. Hypnotic, trance, techno, even Taiko-Trance – the band's music, with its pulsating, perfectly synchronised and often complex drum beats, ultimately defies categorization, and instead taps into something deeply primeval in all of us. The Auditorium's Cavea, an open-air amphitheatre under the stars, was the ideal setting – it would be hard to imagine the sheer immensity of GOCOO's sound in the closed environs of a theatre.

GOCOO's eleven core members - seven female and four male – were supported on stage by guest musician GoRo, a didgeridoo player. The deep, rumbling drone of the instrument added extra texture to GOCOO's pounding drums and was the perfect compliment. He also sang an exquisite traditional Japanese song dedicated to the children of the world in remembrance of the recent earthquake in Japan, accompanying himself on a Japanese thumb piano, and another instrumental piece played on the Jew's harp. This beautifully-measured two song interlude gave both audience and GOCOO slight pause before the final songs of the evening – 1997, a track to celebrate the creation of the band that year, and a final mesmerising piece that blended traditional cymbals, with GOCOO's increasingly frenetic drum sounds.

The Rome audience absolutely loved GOCOO - people were on their feet, clapping and dancing for the exhilarating encore, and eagerly gathered around the performers as they signed autographs immediately after the show. A hugely entertaining band – catch them if you can on their European Tour!


LindyLouMac said…
Sometimes I wish I lived right in the city centre and was able to enjoy all this culture that is at your fingertips!