Ian Cleworth and Riley Lee formed Taikoz in 1997. Over the past two decades the group has developed an original repertoire of works and productions that has seen them perform on the stages of Australia's finest concert halls, in the theatres of regional Australia, and in leading theatres and concert halls worldwide. Taikoz has performed in Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, and the USA where the ensemble headlined the Taiko Nation concerts at the 2014 World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles. Most recently Taikoz toured India with Chi Udaka, receiving much critical acclaim.
The group regularly appears in the theatres of regional Australia, having undertaken six Australia-wide tours. Taikoz has composed over thirty original works for taiko including several in combination with instruments such as shakuhachi, koto, marimba, saxophone, cello, drum set and didgeridoo. Distinguished composers Lachlan Skipworth, Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino, Michael Askill, David Pye, Graeme Koehne and Timothy Constable have also written works for the ensemble.
The title, The Beauty Of 8, refers to the mesmerising shapes and movements that are synonymous with the yokouchi (side-on) style of taiko playing.
Guest artist, Kodo Distinguished Member Chieko Kojima’s mastery of the style – not to mention her own personal artistry – brings a level of sophistication and expressiveness that is not only beguiling, but also deeply spiritual. Trained as a dancer, Chieko seamlessly combines her love of movement, sound and rhythm into a performance that is difficult to categorise: Is it drumming? Is it dance?
The performance also features Riley Lee, shakuhachi Grand Master – whose relationship with Chieko extends back to the 1970s when they were both members of the legendary taiko ensemble, Ondekoza.
Framed within a program of new music composed by Taikoz members Ian Cleworth and Anton Lock, with electronica and sound design by John Cleworth, The Beauty Of 8 sees Chieko and Riley reunited for a performance that matches their inner intensity, beauty of expression and synchronicity of sound and movement.