Marimba is not an instrument that might mean a lot to everyone around the world. But Japanese pair Tatsuo Sasaki and Michiko Noguchi are determined to put it on the map. Known collectively as The Marimba Duo, Sasaki and Noguchi play this sublime, ancient wooden instrument with skill, dexterity, and artistry that few have managed before. And with the release of their exquisite new album – ‘Tempest’ – The Marimba Duo are likely to introduce a whole new generation to the wonders of the marimba.
Both are skilled performers in their own right, with Sasaki’s musical journey having already spanned the globe. He has performed across Europe, North and South America, as well as his native Japan, and has worked with the Israel Philharmonic, American Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, and San Diego Symphony.
The natural sound of wood – bringing warm feelings of nostalgia to any listener – is used on this beautiful recording to reinvigorate classic works from great composers ranging from Bach to Beethoven, via Debussy and Ravel. They also reinterpret traditional Bulgarian dances and present a vibrant re-imagining of Whelan’s popular Irish classic ‘Riverdance’. On this effervescent ‘Riverdance’, Sasaki and Noguchi are joined by another quartet of percussionists. It’s a combination that will have everyone in the room up on their feet and dancing.
On ‘Tempest’, the imagination of this duo of musical pioneers is there for all to see. All of these re-workings of much loved and admired pieces of music bring a fresh perspective and will be appreciated by those who know the works and those who don’t. You may not know much about the marimba, but in The Marimba Duo you’re unlikely to find better teachers.