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Shidara set to thunder into Zorn Arena with taiko drumming and song

RELEASED: Feb. 5, 2010

photos of Shidara
Shidara

EAU CLAIRE — Shidara, one of the foremost Japanese drum companies in the world, will perform March 1 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Artists Series performance, "Heart of the Immortal Mountain," will begin at 7:30 p.m. Mar. 1 in Zorn Arena. Food and drink will be available for purchase from 6:45 p.m. until show time, and at intermission.

Fusing music, dance and drummers in spectacular costumes, Shidara's joyous performance is professional sport, dance, theater and musical art combined. Blending skill, energy and speed, Shidara's elegant thunder is a direct expression of life in the Japanese mountains of long ago and today.

Shidara is based in Toei, a tiny town in the mountainous forest region of Japan called Okumikawa. Members of the company live at their mountain facility in strict traditional discipline, practicing and training 11 hours a day. Deeply involved in village life as well as their professional pursuits, Shidara is dedicated to preserving the ancient traditions of the region. Their performances include an adaptation of Hana Matsuri, a 700-year-old harvest ritual that is a prayer for good health, abundance, and harmonious communion of the divine and human worlds.

"Our village is so remote, many aspects of old Japan still thrive," said Shidara's Megan Chao Smith. "Every song in our performance is a vivid picture, a vivid expression of our life in these mountains. You will feel the blur and thunder of river rapids flooding into rock, drink in the silence surrounding melodies on the bamboo flute, search for the call of hawks circling above. You walk away with a fresh story of another time and place."

Founded in 1989 by its artistic director, Chabo, Shidara swept the Tokyo International Wadaiko Championships in 2002. The group tours regularly throughout Japan and Korea, and has appeared in Taipei, Norway, Sweden and Martinique. After standing ovations at its debut performances in the United States, the company began North American tours in 2006. Its thunderous drums sold out a six-week tour of the western states in 2008. On its first national U.S. tour, Shidara is travelling with 6,000 pounds of drums — one of them the size of a small Volkswagen.

Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, or $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets for students are half-price, $3.50, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student-ticket price.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard, Visa or Discover when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. The Artists Series is also funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio, WHYS Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites 715-838-9989 at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of the University Centers.

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JS/RD

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