We always feel quite honoured when we are invited to play at Japanese cultural events. Japanese people who live in the UK and hear us play will sometimes come up to us to tell us how much they miss the sound of the drums.
The National Botanical Gardens of Wales and the Japanese Garden Society teamed up and with help from a professional gardener from Kyoto brought new life to the slightly neglected garden. It looked fantastic at the launch. We were invited to play at the opening of the ceremony and then gave a longer performance in the big glass house. We topped it off with pop up workshops for some of the school children that came to take part in the ceremony.
For the second year now we brought our drums to Swansea bay – to the beach near the 360 café. We drummed in support of the rainbow runners as they completed a 5 km run on the sand. Not only do they get covered in sand, they pass through several paint stations where they get sprayed with paint. They end up tired and very colourful!
The event is done to raise funds for Ty-Hafan, the Welsh children’s Hospice. We couldn’t think of a better cause to help!
Our drumming motivated the runners in the final lap of the trail and we were really inspired by the big effort the runners made to arrive at the finish line.
We played until the last runners arrived at the finish line, a total of 2 hours. We were quite tired but happy at the end of the day. Playing on the beach with the sea and the Mumbles in front of us is one of our favourite things to do!
We held a public Taiko workshop on the 11th March, just before our own day-long workshop with Ting-Chi Li.
It was open to everyone aged 9 and up. We had a full house! a few children, a few parents and people who saw us at one of our gigs and wanted to have a go.
We taught the lovely piece called Raku, written by the artistic director of the Japanese group Shidara.
Everyone did extremely well, as could be guessed by seeing the smiles on their faces when we played the song several times from beginning to end, accompanied by the melody on the recorder.
In Aber Taiko we love that piece and always play it at our busks and gigs, usually accompanied by a young and accomplished recorder player, Yarden.
We were asked to open another beginner’s course and we are now considering how and when we can do it. Watch this space!
Liz Walters is one of the UK’s leading taiko artists and performers. Her day of workshops will be the last in our project ‘Swansea Year of Taiko’ kindly funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
The focus of this day will be on the drumming style originating from Hokuriku, which is very lively and powerful and lends itself to self expression within the group.
Now SOLD OUT! If you wish to be added to a waiting list, please contact us.
Continue reading “Swansea Year of Taiko Workshops with Liz Walters 26th November 2016”
A very inspiring day was had with Jonathan, founder of Kagemusha Taiko and Lucy also from Kagemusha, who supported him on the day. We learnt some of Jonathan’s philosophy – that we should take taiko and create with it what is authentic for us here. We are not Japanese and we come from a different background, but that doesn’t mean we are not allowed to enjoy taiko as we see fit!
We then had a session of basic technique – stance, arm movements and group playing.This is always good for even experienced players. But as we had a few complete beginners, this was even more important.
After lunch we had our children’s session. It was end of half term and only 3 children signed up this time. And they had a go at a short version of ‘Shimabayashi‘ – a song written by Jonathan.
When the children left after giving us a little concert, we continued with some more complicated arm movements – here we are, trying to figure out how to put together a diagonal movement in one arm and a circular in the other…
We also learnt how to move around the drums – a very liberating concept for us, being used to being very grounded behind a drum.
This was all just what we needed as a group – an injection of new choreography and movement. Jonathan and Lucy made sure we understood everything and were very encouraging of us to take all that we had learnt and incorporate it into our repertoire and drills. We have already managed to practice some of the new moves with our beginner’s class and we definitely feel more confident in our body while playing.Thanks Jonathan and Lucy!:-)
And thanks to the Arts council of Wales for funding our project. There was one person who told us he was looking for a way to play taiko for a few years and couldn’t find anything. We are so happy that we succeeded in reaching him. Just goes to show how important advertising can be.