A Yamato drums explosion

The famed Japanese drums ensemble Yamato will be giving four separate performances in Greece next month, with the participation of the percussion ensemble of the local drug rehabilitation program Ithaki. On June 15 and 16 the traditional Waidako drum players will appear at the open-air Lycabettus Theater, before traveling south to Patras for one show on June 18 at the Roman Odeon and then up north to Thessaloniki for a gig at the Gis Theater on June 20. The performances are part of an initiative organized by the KETHEA drug rehabilitation center and Ithaki held within the context of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Yamato was founded by Masa Ogawa in 1993. Since its formation, Yamato has played to more than a million people, giving over 1,500 performances in about a dozen different countries. The ensemble travels with several dozen large and small drums (including an odaiko made from a huge tree over 400 years old), displaying the instruments’ versatility and instinctive appeal, both in street performances and in concert halls holding several thousand people. The band’s first trip abroad was in August 1998, when it took part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to great public and critical acclaim, playing to a full house and winning the Spirit of Fringe award. Tickets for the Athens performance are available at the Athens Festival box office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900) and at Virgin Megastores. Information on tel 210.725.8510 and