Bati-holic blends traditional Japanese folk music with a striking originality, to create a thrilling performance. Photo courtesy Jejusori
On Friday Sept. 25, the Jeju Culture and Arts Center exploded with energy as Bati-holic took to the stage. Bati-holic, pronounced “bachi-holic”, means "addicted to drum sticks" and the group pounded out 90 minutes of Japanese traditional drum-based songs and dances. The group was young, vibrant and cheerful and the large crowd of all ages had a great time.
Bati-holic consists of seven members who play Japanese traditional wa-daiko drums, the flute, the shamisen (a stringed instrument), gongs, and cymbals; as well as singing and dancing. They met while attending a traditional music school in Japan and decided to form a troupe in their home city of Kyoto. They've been performing professionally for five years and have toured Japan many times; performing in concert halls, at festivals, and teaching workshops.
Friday night’s performance included traditional Japanese songs and original compositions by the group. One of the female performers did a fan dance and an umbrella dance and some of the male members danced as well.
They have toured Japan extensively, as well as performing in Taiwan and the Netherlands. This is their seventh trip to Korea, but their first to Jeju. "It is so beautiful here,” said troupe leader Shugo Kurosaka, “now we want to come to Jeju every year. We've been to Daegu, Kwanju, Seoul and Busan many times but Jeju is so different. I really love the nature and the sea."
A female member performs an umbrella dance. Photo courtesy Jejusori
They also performed at the Seogwipo Girls’ High School on Thursday. “The show was very good,” Kurosaka said. “The teenagers always love this kind of music. Traditional music has a strong power with them.” The group will continue their work educating people about traditional Japanese music and may form a school someday in the future. He added: “There are many cultural festivals we play in Japan, but most Japanese people only know pop music, they don't know their own traditional music. We try to teach them.”
The group is so full of energy and fun that the children in the audience were cheering, laughing, and dancing in the aisles. Bati-holic certainly was an excellent ambassador for traditional Japanese music. “We want to go all over the world and share our music. This music has a big power to communicate and shake hands with many people and countries. It can go across borders and everyone likes it.” Kurosaka, explained. The group reached out to Jeju people by performing a cheerful, bouncy song in Korean; they received an enthusiastic response from the audience.
Artists use a variety of traditional insruments. Photo by Stephanie Reid
The Jeju Culture and Arts Center regularly features many similar performances and many are free of charge. The center is located next to Shinsan Park, about a ten minute walk north-east of Si-cheong (City Hall). When arriving to see a show, it is worth getting there a little early to view the two art galleries located to the right of the main hall.
Further English information about Bati-holic can be found at www.bati-holic.jp/english
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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