The Telegraph
Saturday , December 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hide (centre) with twins Kohei (left) and Ryohei Inoue (together known as Aun) on the taiko at Tolly

Japanese musicians Aun (A-oon) and Hide (Hee day) produced almost every sound possible with Japanese alphabets, from “a to un”, at One Asia, a concert organised by the consulate general of Japan to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relationship between Japan and India.

Talented twins Ryohei and Kohei Inoue — together they are called Aun (formerly a part of the celebrated taiko or Japanese drum group Ondekoza) — played the drums, flute and shamisen well enough to dazzle the huge turnout at The Tollygunge Club on Tuesday evening. Hide, short for Hideyuki Saito, who has shared the stage with Zakir Hussain and Paul McCartney, played the cymbals, odaiko (a huge drum) and shime-daiko (a small drum). But it was the twins who won the crowd over. They paused from time to time to throw a few Bengali phrases at the crowd!

Their music is more than just fusion. “It’s original music played on traditional instruments,” Hide said after a workshop (held earlier in the day) with Indian classical musicians at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy. Hide, whose accomplishments also include playing on the soundtrack of Hero (a movie featuring Chinese star Jet Li), is familiar with Indian classical music because as part of another taiko band (Kodo) he had played with Zakir Hussain. “It was a humbling experience. He’s just excellent,” Hide said.

During their Calcutta concert, the musicians collaborated with santoor-and-flute duo Kounterpointz (Kunal Saha and Soumyajyoti Ghosh). “It involves a lot of technique,” said Kohei. “The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument that you beat more than you play!” Kounterpointz has composed a fusion piece (titled One Asia) especially for the musicians. “Even though the base is Hindustani classical, it can be played on Japanese musical instruments,” said Kunal.

It was Hide who had the final nugget of wisdom. “No matter where you perform or how different the country is, music speaks to everyone.”