Do you know what a “taiko” is? It`s a traditional Japanese drum. Japanese originally played it at Omatsuri, traditional Japanese festivals, as an offering to God, to entertain him. Nowadays, there are many taiko groups who perform at many other occasions. Have you heard of “Kodo”? They are probably the most popular and well-known among those groups. They have visited Manchester more than once, and played at Bridgewater Hall.
Now, until relatively recently, you needed to go to London to find a decent enough Taiko group, either Japanese or British. But, I have found this taiko group, Tantara Taiko, right here in Greater Manchester. The leader of the group, John Bolwell, went to Japan to learn how to play the taiko, and he formed his own group when he got back to Manchester.
As a Japanese, I think they are quite good, and they are still developing. They have performed at some major Japanese culture-related events. So, this time, I decided to visit their practice session to find out just how they do it.
I was surprised to find out that they are already so experienced that all they needed to do was a little discussion about the timing and so on. They also have a beginner group, for which John would start from the very basic.
Anyway, please watch the video to see for yourself. Any comments welcome!