To prepare for our upcoming California WorldFest debut, we are raising funds to replace the heads on several of our drums. We want to leave our impression at the WorldFest stage with the deepest thundering sound possible and that’s where we need your help.
We have drumheads soaking, stretching and drying at this very moment in the dojo, thanks to all of our supporters. But we still need more! It’s not too late to contribute and we still have some great perks leftover from our IndieGogo campaign, from t-shirts to California Worldfest passes. Contribute, grab a perk and come here us play at Worldfest! Click the “Support” link at the top of this page or contact us, [email protected], to find out more about the perks!
verb; a physical art form that originated in China and was transported to Japan centuries ago. Almost considered a festival relic of Japan, which has since been reshaped over the past four decades and has re-emerged as an art form of its own.
noun; the primary drum used in the modern ensemble groups that play Japanese style drumming.
Taiko, a Japanese style of drumming, has a long and rich history. Originating in China, it traveled through many countries and took on various forms, finally settling profoundly in Japan. Here, it was used to call the Gods to alter existing conditions such as warding off pestilence, bringing rain, blessing a harvest or inviting the ancestors to join in celebration of the family.
Villages used the drums to communicate, soldiers were sent to war and fishermen called in from the sea. Taiko was once very utilitarian.
As Japan became influenced by the West, certain traditions were left to the elders to carry. As many young people struck out for America and all the dreams that it held, these traditions were left behind. For a while. Soon, the beating of the drums was greatly missed as traditional festivals began to surface in America.
A few frontiersmen took the lead in bringing Taiko to America. Among them, and one of the most influential, is Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo. He is noted for having started or influenced most groups that have since sprung up in North America.
Mitzi Garnett, student of Grand Master Tanaka, has carried that torch and formed Grass Valley Taiko. Founded in 2000, the group has taken root and is now actively participating in many community events. Mitzi’s creative interpretations of traditional pieces along with those created by the members of Grass Valley Taiko, presents a variety of styles and rhythms to appease the audience.