Taiko with Yuta

At the end of February we had the pleasure and good fortune to host Yuta Kato for a weekend of workshops, food, walks and talks. Yuta is a Japanese-American Taiko artist who had just decided to become independent after years and years of being the principal teacher at LATI. He has been playing since he was seven – he can play anything, at any speed, and the way he uses his whole body to play is very unique and captivating. He taught us so many things in those 12 hours: Omiyage from beginning to end, Yodan basics and Hachijo basics. His love of Taiko and of teaching came through in everything he was showing us. And it was not only about the technique and the rhythms. After all, without telling your story when you play, why are you playing? But how DO you tell your story with sticks and drum? ah, that’s where the magic is. Yuta had a way of getting us to feel all the feelings and channel them while we played. It needs practice and being open – and a lifetime of exploration.

An important part of all taiko activities – sitting together for food and chats

What made the weekend even more special was having taiko friends with us – James Barrow came with a van full of drums (and Yuta!); more players came from Bristol, the Brecon Beacons, and even Exeter.

So happy after our Hachijo workhsop
Posing in Rhossili after a walk along the cliffs

We were all very inspired to practice more and become better players, and keep and maintain our connections with each other. Thanks Yuta, we already miss you!