The Tanabata festival was one of those very special events where a taiko performance is a natural and a central part of the goings on. For us it was a perfect opportunity to fully enjoy what we do and to spread the spirit of taiko playing. We had as much floor space as we wanted, we were given the freedom to do it our way, and ample time for setting up, playing, teaching workshops and facilitating the ‘Tanko Bushi’ dance. We are very thankful to the national museum of Cardiff and specifically to Victoria for having us and making everything so smooth and easy.
This stunning exhibition was launched on the 14th of June. High ranking officials from both Wales and Japan came to express the friendship between the two countries. We played our drums and expressed our #taikolove on the steps of the museum. We played traditional and new pieces side by side.
The love of taiko knows no borders – and when we play we feel some affinity to the Japanese roots of this art form. We are not Japanese but some of us encountered taiko in Japan and with those of us who only saw a performance live or on TV in the UK – we are all absolutely smitten by the taiko drums and everything that comes with them – fun, excitement, connection, self expression, community, good health and good spirits.
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!