One routine afternoon, I was editing the workbook for my English classes for the upcoming school year when the very familiar – and oftentimes exciting – BINK sound of Facebook messenger interrupted the song that was playing and the lull off my task at hand. The message was an invitation to judge a Yukata competition for Bon Odori, a Japanese summer festival which has been brought to the Cebu, Philippines by the many Japanese who settled here in our island. I gladly said yes.
When the competition arrived, I was ushered in by the hospitality team to the judges’ table, and I obediently sat and twiddled my thumbs as I waited for everything to begin.
The Yukata competition started and the contestant were not only lovely but impressive. We chose our finalists and our job as judges was officially done.
THEN the BEST part of my Bon Odori experience happened.
I met GOCOO.
GOCOO is a battery of male and female drummers pounding away at more than 40 Taikos (traditional Japanese drums) to beats that are mesmerizing and even tantalizing to the ear. With every tempo, they move and dance in this beautiful cadence of grace and emotion that left me breathless. Their movements were so synchronized and primal that my ears and eyes did not want to miss anything. Not one sound. Not one motion.
I was entranced and I did not mind.
A large reason for my fascination was Kaoly Asano, the lead drummer. She was so spirited and vivacious as she led the entire drum army through every song and compositon. I called her “The Supreme” because that’s what she is. She led that band and captured the attention of everyone present.
When she said that they would play their rendition of thanksgiving on drums, I became even more excited! They played and moved, and oh boy, I just gave in and bawled my eyes out. I felt the music in my heart. I felt their gratitude.
Photo by Wolf Hansen, Germany
I give them a solid thumbs up not only for being one of the best live performances I have ever witnessed but also for showing me just how beautiful the Japanese can be. I long for the day when I can see them and hear them again.
P.S. They did the soundtrack for The Matrix.
Link to their official website http://www.gocoo.de/