Spirit of the Dragon – the concert that was

Months and months of preparation from all of us: practice, design and sewing 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!

Ting-Chi Li reciting the Norito for “Hiryu San Dan Gaeshi” at the opening of the concert

And maybe most of all – the strong connections which we have  re-forged with Ting-Chi Li, Xun Dong, Yumi Célia and Alison Roe.

SFTD· 共鳴   playing “Gongming 2018”

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, playing “Two Taiko”

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!

“Nidan” – common roots are what enabled these 4 to play together having never played together before!

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!

“Confluence” by Alison Roe and Aber Taiko
“Taiko Skip” – we didn’t bump into each other!
“Miyake” finale
2Taiko playing “Kitzune no Yomeiri”
“Tsunami” – powerful conversation from both sides of the drum


AberTaiko playing “Tribal”

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.

Dacw ‘Nghariad – Kate Davies singers, taiko, fue and theremin