Studying with Kenny and Chizuko Endo

Taiko players from around the UK with Kenny and Chizuko

One of the nice things we learnt on our taiko journey is that reaching out to other taiko players will most probably lead to wonderful things happening. And so when we heard that Kenny Endo and Chizuko Endo are coming to Europe for a couple of months we immediately sent an email asking them to come over to Swansea and teach us.

Kenny Endo spent about 10 years in Tokyo playing with Oedo Sukeruko Taiko and studying classical music of the Edo period (Edo bayashi, Kabuki). So we asked him to teach us Naname and Shime basics.

Taiko players from around the UK came to Swansea to take advantage of this opportunity. Members of Mugenkyo, Kagemusha, Taiko Journey, Taiko Meantime Tamashii Taiko and Oxford Taiko arrived and brought with them drums, stands and such beautiful spirit.

We spent all day learning from the vast knowledge and experience of Kenny Endo and Chizuko. They were both so generous with their knowledge. We played drills and learnt a practice piece called ‘Oi Uchi’ on Naname. And on the shime we learnt a few Edo bayashi rhythms and could enjoy several demonstrations from Kenny and Chizuko.

The evening before – we had a demonstration and talk by Kenny and Chizuko. They played pieces written by Kenny Endo, and some from his time in Tokyo, written by Oedo Sukeruko. Kenny told us about Noh theatre and Kabuki theatre and demonstrated the use of the Kotsuzumi and voice. From his time in the Kabuki theatre in Tokyo he also demonstrated the quiet sounds that an odaiko can make that are used in Kabuki to bring to life the different natural phenomena – and unnatural phenomena too – Ghosts and spirits. It was a very inspiring evening for all of us.

Taiko workshop for the whole family

Children and adults having fun playing Taiko in a previous workshop.

We are offering an open taiko workshop suitable for every member of the family, age 8 and above. We will learn a piece that lends itself to playing powerfully while supporting and encouraging each other in the group to give it their all. Taiko is not just about playing a rhythm – it’s about the energy, the intention, the collaboration and above all, the joy.

Date: Saturday 21st October

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August events: Public Talk and Childrens’ Workshop

We would like to invite you to two Taiko-related events happening at the end of August. We are so lucky to host a Taiko legend who has many years experience of teaching and performing in both the United States of America and Japan.

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Wake Up Drums

Every year at the beginning of June there is a lovely event organised by Tsunagari Taiko centre in Paris. Taiko groups from around the world are invited to strike 3 times, strongly, on their drums. And while doing this, spread a vision of connectedness, wake people up , move people to change their lives for the better. Here are our three beats for a better world, together with TMD and other participants in James Barrow’s workshop day. Many groups and individuals participated – from Paris, Tokyo, Germany, Hungary, Australia, Spain… so nice to be part of a global community of beautiful people.  You can find their diverse  3 beats here !

Workshop with James Barrow

James demonstrating the main rhythm of Eclipse, his open source piece.

5 of us went up to  Glangrwyney for a whole day of Taiko tuition with James Barrow. The day was organised by Ursula Frank from TMD. People came from as far as Oxford and Birmingham. James taught us his piece ‘Eclipse’. After his first demonstration it sounded so complex, but he broke it down to very short phrases and we had it in the first 2 hours. It is a great piece, with accents on left and right hands, on the on and off beats, a real brain teaser. We started out on upright stands but had a chance, throughout the day, to try playing the magnificent Odaiko,  give katsugi okedo a go, and also some Yatai style. And another very useful tool – play the same piece with different musical intention. So we started out with thinking of a happy, floating moment and played Eclipse light heartedly. We then descended into a chaotic and creative few minutes where

Odaiko at the back, yatai in the middle, James on the shime, leading.

everyone just made all kinds of rhythms and sounds. Out of that darkness we were pulled out by a sombre mitsu-uchi on the Odaiko, and played it again with a more grounded, powerful feel.

And as always with Taiko – we all were supporting each other with shouts, smiles, eye contact and body language that conveyed our utter happiness to be there at that moment in time, playing together.

James made ‘Eclipse’ open source and we will definitely use it to improve so many skills – left right coordination and dexterity, musicality and creativity.