Aber Taiko is a community drumming group based in Swansea, South Wales. We practice Taiko – a Japanese drumming art form. ‘Taiko’ is the Japanese word for ‘fat drum’ and indeed the drums we use are BIG!
Playing taiko is enjoyable and improves our physical and mental well being by relieving stress, increasing stamina and coordination and strengthening our bodies. Taiko improves our ability to work together. It motivates us to create rhythm and movement that are pleasing to the eye and to the ear. It is very engaging and demands full attention and concentration.
Aber Taiko was founded as a constituted group by Yasmin Friedmann in September 2015. After returning from Japan in late 2013, Yasmin organised several taiko workshops in Swansea in order to find more people who loved taiko and would like to play together. Workshop leaders were Ursula Frank (Taiko Mynydd Du – TMD), Pete Goodman (TMD and formerly a performing member in a group based in Hamamatsu, Japan) and James Barrow from Taiko West. Group members assembled slowly in the course of around 12 months and finally prepared together to perform in the UK Taiko Fest in July 2015. Amongst us are Samba players, people who played taiko in Japan previously and people who just love to drum. We are all attracted to this beautiful art form and enjoy the energy that flows when playing together.
After becoming constituted, we started practicing regularly on Monday nights and we perform occasionally in local events in and around Swansea, and sometimes beyond. We now also offer courses which last a few weeks or one-off workshops.
In the beginning, realising that there are no taiko professionals in Swansea, and wanting to introduce taiko to Swansea in the best way possible, we applied for and won funding from the Arts Council of Wales to run a project called “Swansea Year of Taiko” throughout 2016.
This project saw some of the best taiko artists from the UK come to Swansea to give a day of workshops each.
Workshops were tailored to young children, beginner adults and the more experienced. We were introduced to different styles of drumming, learnt new songs and improved our technique. The project has strengthened our confidence as players and gave us a big boost to continue on our taiko path together.
We aim to create a supportive environment of sharing, learning and enjoying. We respect each other and our different ways of learning and engaging with taiko.
But what is taiko?
Read more about taiko drumming.