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Chi Udaka

Taikoz

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Chi Udaka


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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.

Inspired by the forces of nature, Chi Udaka is a meeting of the deep earthiness of taiko drumming, represented as Chi (Earth), and the flowing sensuality of dance, represented as Udaka (Water). 

At turns delicate and dramatic, Chi Udaka connects the dynamism of Taikoz’s taiko, the melodic beauty of Riley Lee’s shakuhachi, the sinuous strains of John Napier’s cello, the mellifluous virtuosity of Aruna Parthiban’s classical Indian vocals, and the evocative soundscapes of John Cleworth’s electronica with Lingalayam’s blend of Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi dance forms.

Highlight of the year. What a thrilling surprise. The gunshot barrage of taiko drumming melds gloriously with the sinuously melodic action of classical Indian dance in Chi Udaka.”  Jill Sykes, Sydney Morning Herald

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.

Taikoz has collaborated with composers Sandy Evans, Gerard Brophy, Andrea Molino and Michael Askill, and artists as diverse as John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, and Kaoru Watanabe, the Sydney Improvisers Composers Kollektiv Orchestra (SICKO), as well as distinguished choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. In 2012, Taikoz collaborated with Kodo on a nation-wide tour of Australia. The group has also appeared in concerto works with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. In February 2018, Taikoz, Riley Lee and Kaoru Watanabe were featured soloists with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, performing their own works in arrangements for the ensemble and orchestra, culminating in a newly commissioned work by Lachlan Skipworth called The Breath Of Thunder.

Awards include Limelight Best New Composition Award for Kaidan, Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of Taikoz's commitment to Australian music and a Drover Award for regional touring and education. In 2016, Ian and Riley were both awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their contributions towards promoting friendship and goodwill between Australia and Japan.

“One of the major highlights of the 2014 Sydney Festival, Chi Udaka is an explosively energetic blending of colour, rhythm, dance and music.”  David Kary, Sydney Arts Guide

"Highlight of the year. Surprise has something to do with it, but the exhilarating collaboration between Anandavalli’s Lingalayam dancers and Ian Cleworth’s Taikoz drummers in Chi Udaka for the 2014 Sydney Festival was thrilling.”  Jill Sykes, Dance Australia

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