Friday, February 28, 2014

Kodo Concert, Brighton, 2014

I have only been to two concerts in my life.  Strange but true.  The first was the Eagles back in 1996 and the second was Kodo.  I knew of Kodo the Japanese taiku drumming troupe for many years, but never really listened them properly.  I have always liked the sound of large drums and this was further deepened by lion dancing culture.  The sound of large drums inspires and motivates me.  I have long found that popular music doesn't appeal to me and over the years, I have discovered a like for traditional folk music.

It was late last year, when I started to develop a taste for Japanese taiku drumming.  I've always admired the Japanese spirit when it comes to perfection and it was a time when I wanted to find music that moved me.  Kodo does that and I listen to them when I train.  Kodo isn't just about drums, they also include in their repertoire, flute, string instrument such as the shamisen and dancing.  So when I found out that they were touring he UK, I had to go.

People often say that Kodo are brilliant performers and always impress.  They aren't wrong, the power and the passion is quite something.  Whilst only about a third of the group came on tour, it was a two hour show.  There was sufficient variety, but my favourite part was the O-Daiku.  This a a giant size drum made from a large tree trunk.  It takes a man of much strength to create the sound that does it justice.  Every player pours his heart and soul into that performance and it shows.  I was thoroughly impressed and I will intend to see them again.  10/10

Friday, February 21, 2014

HK trip 2014

I went back to HK for Chinese New Year this year.  Time to see family and some shopping.  I haven't been back to HK since September 2012.  Last year, I was unwell, so it wouldn't have been a good idea.  HK hasn't changed much.  However it isn't the same as how it used to be.  The general mood is that HK'ers aren't generally getting on with those from the mainland.  I am on their side.  As much as I love and respect my culture and heritage.  Chinese tourist from the mainland are a challenged.  Rare are a group of tourists that are both loved (for the money they may spend) and hated (for their very poor behaviour, lack of common decency and rudeness).  They are now everywhere in HK.  What may have been a cheap place for locals to enjoy, are now stuffed full of mainland tourists eager to have their bit.  I am all for better and closer relations with the mainland, but there has to be mutual respect.  And now they can be found in many of the large European cities, either as tourist or those that came here as political refuges (economic more like).

I have been to everywhere in HK, so it was nice to go hiking and go to place not often visited, like the hike up Victoria Peak.  It will be a while before I go back again.  But HK is a resilient place, and despite what mainlanders think, the normal HK way of life will go on.  You can force changes to certain things, but push too hard and things will crumble.  The Chinese Central Government is wiser than that of Russia.  It is unlikely military force will be used.  They know that HK'ers aren't happy and they do car what the press and outsiders see and say.