What is Taiko?
Taiko literally means 'big drum' in Japanese.
Taiko drumming has been an important part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. Its origins lie in the many temples and shrines throughout Japan, where they are played during ceremonies and seasonal festivals. Throughout history taiko drums have also been used in Kabuki and Noh theatre, dance, court music (Gagaku) and also Samurai warfare. It is only since the 1950s that taiko has become a performing art in itself known as 'kumi daiko', and spread throughout the world with the help of professional touring groups like Ondekoza and Kodo. Japan currently has between 10,000 - 15,000 taiko groups playing many different styles.
Taiko performances use different styles and sizes of Japanese drum (wadaiko). These can also be played in many different positions and ways. Playing taiko isn't just about hitting a drum to make a sound, it involves body movement, balance, energy, stamina, co-ordination, self control, self awareness and unites mind, body and spirit akin to many martial arts.
Playing in a taiko group is an exhilarating experience, and one you won't forget! The sheer energy created is immense.
Here are a couple of videos which give an insight into taiko, some of the history, and how they are made.
ABOUT TENGU TAIKO DRUMMERS
The Tengu Taiko Drummers were formed in August 2018, and came about via the Tengu School of Taiko, a teaching project started in 2009 by Tengu founder Jared Hardwick to share the benefits of this fun performing art to more people. While conducting regular classes over the years, a core group of regular individuals with a desire to further their skills, were invited to move up to intermediate level, and after more intense training, were ready to form the performing group.
We have an extensive repertoire and play both traditional and contemporary pieces. Most of the pieces we write are influenced by Japanese culture and folklore, but we sometimes use influence from other cultures and themes which brings diversity to our shows.
Our aim is to share the joy of Taiko as well as the benefits and energy that it creates, both through performance and hands on experience via regular courses and workshops.