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