Months and months of preparation from all of us: practice, design and sowing of new costumes, planning the song order, drum formations and drum movements, creating a PR video, posting on social media, practicing, creating projections for the different songs, designing and building bespoke banners, planning of lights, designing posters and flyers, practicing, singing, skipping, learning new styles, coordinating people’s activities on the days before and on the day itself, dreaming, being excited, new t-shirts, new logo, being terrified, a bit of stress, more practice, pulling together… and finally playing on stage and enjoying every minute!
And maybe most of all – the strong connections which we have re-forged with Ting-Chi Li, Xun Dong, Yumi Célia and Alison Roe.
Ting-Chi Li and Xun Dong, a.k.a. SFTD· 共鳴 (San Francisco Taiko Dojo – Resonance) style is strong, powerful, thoughtful and elegant – with every piece they played they gave every ounce of energy they had. Their collaborative spirit showed as they were perfectly in tune and in sync even though most of the time could not actually see each other.
Yumi Célia and Alison Roe, a.k.a 2taiko style is quite different – soft and flowy movements, sometimes very fast and sometimes slow, with lots of bachi twirls. This softness of movement does not take from the powerful strikes of the drum, which are almost unexpected!
These two duos came together to play “Solos of Nidan Uchi” – a masterpiece of taiko (written by Sukeruko Taiko) involving playing on 2 sides of 2 drums – one at shoulder height and one slanted, an exposé of graceful dance between drums, amazing skill and coordination and, as always with taiko, collaboration and fun!
A mention must also go to our arrangement of Dacw ‘Nghariad, a traditional Welsh ballad. We were fortunate to have Kate Davies, a gifted singer and leader of choirs join us with 6 singers (2 of whom were Aber Taiko drummers!) to sing this beautiful song. We added a taiko, a theremin and fue to the mix and the result was beautiful.
Ting-chi and Xun came to teach us once more. What a pleasure! we improved leaps and bounds. We got Hiryuu up to a very high energetic level and could hear the dragon flapping its wings as we flew in the air to meet it.
Our own repertoire got a shiny gloss – every song needs some maintenance from time to time, doesn’t it? we cracked a few problematic phrases and found the beauty in them. Can’t wait to get practicing and perform at our spring concert. See you there?