Shadow Warrior Concert

(1) The Spell of Making and (2) Invocation.

Performed by Kagemusha Taiko at the Shadow Warrior concert, Exeter Phoenix, 4th January 2020. The incantation at the beginning is Merlin’s ‘spell of making’ from Excalibur, voiced by Tim Kirby. Gongs and metal percussion are by Kordian Tetkov.


Shadow Warrior Concert

(3) Beowulf -2020 version

The introduction to this version of Beowulf, by Jonathan Kirby, is a section from the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf, the epic poem written in Old English, dating from about 800 C.E. and concerning the exploits of the Anglo-Saxon (or Geat) hero of that name. Excerpt voiced by Tristam Neal.
The warrior’s helmet on the stage backdrop is that of King Raedwald, buried at the place we now call Sutton Hoo, in the east of England, in about 750 C.E.
Percussion in this performance is by Kordian Tetkov, a member of the very first incarnation of Kagemusha Taiko Group, returning as a special guest for this “Shadow Warrior” concert


Shadow Warrior Concert

(4) A Drop in the Ocean



Shadow Warrior Concert

(5) Love -A Good Death, part 2



Kagemusha Taiko Group.

40-second demo from 2017.


Kagemusha Taiko Group.

Final part of “Island Hopping”, performed at the 2nd European Taiko Concert Night, Dusseldorf, March 2017.


Beowulf (2009 version)

We can marvel at the way of the samurai of Japan, but for a heroic code of fearlessness and honour we can also look to Anglo-Saxon culture.



This song is an elegy. The extract show here features Pippa Kirby (taiko), Michael Brailey (violin), and Shogo Yoshii (kokyu).


A “whirligig” is a toy that is whirled rapidly round, or a kind of merry-go-round; it’s also an ancient instrument of torture, consisting of a pivoted wooden cage in which the prisoner was spun round. The concept behind this piece is the action of turning the taiko logo (mitsu tomoe) into its Kagemusha Taiko form: the main players trace a line around three drums which form the circles in the centre of the tomoe. These are the lines of the “Celtic knot” that forms our logo, which is also very similar to a three figure shape seen in Breton and Celtic Christian calligraphy.

This performance was recorded at Sidmouth International Folk Song and Dance Festival, and includes an opening dance by Great Western Morris.


The Green Man

In this video, Kagemusha Junior Taiko Group perform The Green Man, by Jonathan Kirby, on the opening night of the 1st UK Taiko Festival, July 2005.

The Green Man is a blatantly pagan image that nonetheless appears in churches and cathedrals all over Europe, and beyond. The Green Man is the archetype of our relationship with nature, the communion or fusion between man and the vegetable world. To quote Mike Harding from his book on the subject, “All flesh is grass, and the Green Man, perhaps better than any other image, illustrates the principle of death and corruption, resurrection and rebirth.”



Kagemusha Taiko Group perform “Tearaway” at 6th UK Taiko Festival, July 2010.


A Rock and a Hard Place

Kagemusha Taiko Group perform “A Rock and a Hard Place” at the 8th UK Taiko Festival, 2012.
Adrian Freedman played the shakuhachi.
Here is a link to Adrian’s website.



Kindred Spirit

Kagemusha Junior Taiko perform at the Music For Youth Schools Prom in London’s Royal Albert Hall, November 2008.



Kagemusha Taiko perform “SlipJig” at the Taiko Nation concert(s) forming part of the 1st World Taiko Gathering, held in Los Angeles, August 2014. “SlipJig” is a composition based on the rhythms of an old English dance tune called “Sir Roger de Coverley”.


The Gift

“Omiyage” is the Japanese word for “gift”. It is also the name of a composition by Shoji Kameda which he gave to the taiko community and which inspired the style of this piece. “The Gift” is a thank you not just to Shoji but for the gift of taiko as a whole.

This recording of The Gift was made at 12th UK Taiko Festival and, appropriately enough, includes a guest appearance by Shoji.



Pulse & Roll

This piece is composed by Oliver Kirby, and is seen performed by Kagemusha Taiko Group at the 12th UK Taiko Festival, in July 2017.
Does the movement affect the sound, or the sound affect the movement? Is one in control of the other? Do they come from the same place? Pulse & Roll doesn’t have the answer to any of these questions, but it has fun exploring them.


Island Hopping

The roots of Island Hopping can be traced back through Oedo Bayashi, by San Jose Taiko, to the original Yodan Uchi, by Tokyo-based Oedo Sukeroku Taiko. But this is not Yodan Uchi, just as neither Portland Taiko’s Taikokenisis nor Taikoproject’s Many Sides are Yodan Uchi. This is Kagemusha Taiko’s homage to the style, without any claim to be imitating it or representing it in any way. In Europe, the best example of Sukeroku style is presented by Paris-based Oedo Sukeroku-ryu Wadaiko MAKOTO. For a quick view of it, follow this link.


Stepping Stones with Brass – Royal Albert Hall, 2010

Kagemusha Junior Taiko perform Stepping Stones (composed by Oliver Kirby) at the Music for Youth Schools Prom in London’s Royal Albert Hall, November 2010. They were joined by the brass band from Smithills School in Bolton, north-west England. The performance was an experiment to see how well taiko and brass would work together and to encourage future collaborations. 2 members of Kagemusha Taiko had visited Smithills school to test the concept, but rehearsal with all the members of both groups was only possible on the day of the performance itself.