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Release: Sept. 22, 2000

CAPS hosts lecture/demonstration by renowned taiko drummer Sept. 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Leonard Eto marches to the beat of his own drum -- taiko drums.
The world-renowned drummer will give a free lecture/demonstration Thursday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. in the International Center lounge. He will demonstrate and discuss five traditional drums of different types and timbres. The presentation is sponsored by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) and Hancher Auditorium and will be followed by a reception at 5 p.m., also in the lounge.

Eto will be at the University of Iowa to perform Tsu-Ku-Tsu with Pilobolus Dance Theater Friday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. at Hancher Auditorium. Eto collaborated with Pilobolus in creating this dance that takes its name from a verbal rhythm traditionally used to train taiko drummers. Tsu-Ku-Tsu was commissioned by Hancher Auditorium with support from Gary and LaDonna Wicklund.

Stephen Vlastos, CAPS director, said the free demonstration is a wonderful opportunity to learn about a traditional Japanese art form and how it has evolved in modern times.

"Leonard Eto's art form and musical career represent a fusion of traditional and modern, Japanese and Western musical traditions that constitutes one of the most exciting new developments in the performing arts," Vlastos said.

Eto, 37, is known for his unique style of taiko drum performances. Taiko drumming has been a traditional form of music in Japan for 1,000 years. It is typically thought of as a deeply spiritual music and not a form of entertainment. Eto has discarded this image and performs with a more vibrant and energetic style, while still preserving the spirituality of the music. In contrast to other taiko performers who wear simple uniforms and play rehearsed rhythms, Eto performs shirtless with chest and back painted and improvises throughout his performances.

Eto's solo work includes collaborations with the Irish ensemble The Chieftains, with jazz drummer Max Roach, with Bob Dylan and with numerous classical ballet dancers. He has also written taiko compositions for the movies, "The Lion King," "J.F.K.," and "The Thin Red Line."

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact CAPS in advance at 335-1305.

Tickets to Eto's Sept. 29 performance are available at Hancher Box Office, 335-1160 or 1-800-HANCHER. One dance in the program contains partial nudity.

CAPS is part of UI International Programs which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.