Students to Showcase Japanese Art of Taiko Drumming
The Colby Taiko Club and students from this spring's music course titled, Taiko: Music, Movement, and Meaning will give a joint outdoor taiko performance on Thursday, May 6 at 4:30 p.m. on the Schupf Sculpture Court in front of the Colby Museum of Art. This will be the final performance for both groups this academic year.
Taiko, literally meaning "drum" in Japanese, is a performance art that involves the beating of the taiko drum with cylindrical drumsticks called bachi. In taiko, the powerful visual impact of the performance through movements of the entire arms and body is just as important as the sounds produced by the drummers themselves.
On the program for the afternoon is a selection of standard taiko pieces from the Osuwa Daiko and San Francisco Taiko Dojo repertoire. The performers also plan to showcase new compositions written by the students themselves.
The two groups will be performing under the direction of Wynn Yamami, the College's spring artist-in-residence. Yamami has spent his residency coaching members of the Colby Taiko Club on their form and musicality and teaching a Japanese and North American taiko drumming course that actively incorporates in-depth discussion of taiko's musical transmission, lineage and issues of race, ethnicity, gender, power and media representations.
As will be evident during the performance, hands-on training on the instruments was also emphasized in the course.
The new instruments that will be used in the performance were acquired through a grant given to the Department of East Asian Studies from the Freeman Foundation. The three large barrel drums were hand-made by Mr. Yoshi Kato, from Concord, Calif., and the hand-held gongs and cymbals are from Japan. In addition, Mr. Perry Richardson and the carpentry team of the Colby Physical Plant contributed to the performance with drum stands for the two groups to use.
In case of rain, the event will be held indoors in the Colby Art Museum, but the performers are hoping for cooperative weather. Admission is free, so come celebrate the end of the semester with a rousing Taiko performance.