People who play taiko know this: the more you play, the more you want to play! so now we have added an extra monthly practice night. This one is devoted to practicing Miyake and starting on a journey with our new Odaiko which is actually a big okedo.
Miyake is quite strenuous as the drums are low and the players need to squat while playing. We kept playing for a few runs of 15 minutes. Uchikomimas!
Then it was Odaiko time. First ever practice of Odaiko for us. This time it wasn’t so much about technique, but improvisation – we all wanted to just go for it! so we had a person on the one side playing straight Ji uchi (back beat) while the other side improvised. Then change sides and so on until time was up. Never enough time…
Till next month!
Our “Swansea Year of Taiko” project is nearing its end – one last day of adult and family workshops to go…
We have learnt so much this year and we love playing taiko even more. We want to celebrate this feeling, celebrate the things we learnt and the new people we met, the new connections we made and the effort we have all put in.
And what better way to celebrate than to simply play the drums? So we decided to show what we have learnt so far in a concert. We chose the Volcano Theatre as our venue: it is a rugged and friendly place, fit for a community group at the start of our way.
We have invited some of our friends to play with us. They are our friends, our teachers, our collaborators. James Barrow, Taiko Mynydd Du and Alison Roe. The concert will feature many of the elements of taiko that we have learnt from our guest teachers this year. It will contain traditional pieces such as Miyake and Buchi Awase. We will also play more modern pieces inspired by different styles of taiko whose origins are in different parts of Japan such as Hokuriku, Hachijo and Hiroshima. There will also be some original pieces written here in Wales.
This concert is also partly funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
Ah, what a wonderful day we had! Pete Goodman taught us the ins and outs of the original Miyake style. Theme, Ji-uchi, change overs. We learnt also the ka-gu-re which is the intro to the piece. We were happy to welcome 2 kagemusha / Tano taiko players from Exeter who drove all the way down here to study with Pete. And we have a couple of new enthusiasts who are totally hooked. The children’s session was full house!! and some of them are also hooked we believe. Thanks so much Pete! you are truly inspirational and a great teacher.
The day was also marked with a lovely collaborative spirit – which is a must where taiko is concerned as we all had to pitch in with getting the drums in place, welcoming people in, helping each other with the counting and the rhythms. Markedly two of us – Sarah and Ari – made the Miyake stands without which this day wouldn’t have been such a success. Sam took care of sanding the dowel tips and surprised us with a wonderful banner. Wigmore High School provided two drums and stands. Ursula from TMD provided us with another drum / stand. Leanne Clulee took photos of the children’s session and shared them with us
After the formal day finished we headed down the beach for a last bash. How lucky we were today with the sunshine.
This day would not have come to life without funding from the Arts Council of Wales, to whom we are very grateful.
Our next ‘Swansea Year of Taiko’ day is a Miyake day. Throughout the day there will be workshops for children and adults, with the assumption that everyone is a beginner. Please contact us for booking and payment, details are on the flyer below.
Pete Goodman, who studied taiko in general and Miyake taiko specifically between 3 to 5 times a week over 4 years in Japan will teach it to us.
Miyake taiko originates from Miyake-jima, an island south of Tokyo. It is played primarily on miya-daikos (temple drums) that are positioned horizontally. It radiates raw power and its relatively simplistic patterns will get everyone, players and audience alike, involved and captivated by the rhythm.
Miyake is said to take a few hours to pick up, but a lifetime to master (much like taiko itself – the journey is more important than the final destination). Due to the connections that Pete’s group teacher and taiko master Asamoto-Sensei made during his time with KODO, they were fortunate to be able to be taught several times a year by the Tsumura Sensei and his three sons. The Tsumura family are the grand masters of Miyake Taiko in Japan and have taught several groups in Japan.