17 performances which varied from playing for the Swansea Half Marathon runners, to appearing on Welsh TV teaching Rugby players to play taiko, to the relaunch of a Japanese Garden in front of the Japanese ambassador, to rugby stadium gigs and the Chinese New Years celebration. Workshops and demonstrations in local schools and kids clubs. Our Taiko life is always fun and exciting.
All those gigs enabled us to continue studying taiko and this year we had amazing teachers: Ingmar Kikat taught us that we can dance when we drum. Kenny Endo opened our eyes to the classical aspects of taiko.
Ting-Chi Li continued to guide us on the way of playing taiko in the slanted position
Martin and Shonagh taught us Yatai Bayashi, polyrhythms, shime chappa and kane, and Alison Roe pushed us to be musical and brave while soloing over the mitsu uchi backbeat on one or two drums.
And all that can only be possible thanks to the continued dedication of all of us to our weekly practice, and to our strong friendship and mutual consideration.
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.
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.