Sadler's Wells is doing it again. Having introduced the Kodo Drummers to rapturous London audiences in May 1993, the theatre has now brought Wadaiko Ichiro Drummers direct from the Edinburgh Festival to make their first appearance in the capital tonight.

Wadaiko Ichiro is a troupe of 10 men and women who have been trained rigorously in the ancient techniques of Japanese drumming. The performance is based around the taiko, a traditional drum made from a hollow tree trunk which can weigh up to 1,000lbs.

The group was created by Ichiro Inque (right) whose declared aim is to develop rhythmic compositions that can be understood by the modern mind - he's the only person in Japan who writes contemporary music using ancient Japanese instruments. His inspiration comes from the natural sounds and undulations of the Japanese language which he combines with Third World rhythms and the shinobue (horizontal bamboo flute). Inque is also keen to introduce audiences to the lin, a Buddhist gong that is normally used in prayer ceremonies.

The drums used are over 1,500 years old and are produced by the 700-year-old drum factory in Japan called Asano. But it is the drummers themselves that capture the imagination. Inque's international acclaim stems from his ability to strike a 450kg drum with a stick the size of a log and produce a booming tremor one minute, and a delicate, almost inaudible sound, the next.

Sadaiko Ichiro Drummers at Sadler's Wells tonight to 11 Sept, Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1 (071-278 8916) pounds 5-pounds 20

(Photograph omitted)

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