Sounds of Thunder – Japanese Taiko Drumming

Ever heard or seen traditional Japanese Taiko drumming? The first time I heard and saw it live, I was awestruck! Never had I heard drums that sounded like a thunderstorm. I’ll never forget that feeling and after experiencing their performance, I wanted to play Taiko!

I’ll share with you one of my video’s of Ryu Shu Taiko group performing at the Sakura Matsuri. This piece is called ‘Seiryu’. Make sure your volume is up!

Never would I have imagined that someday I would be playing taiko – and with the same group in the video! It really is a ‘small world’ that their dojo is located so close to home. Mom (Art-Z Jewelry) and I have been playing taiko for a couple years. I’ve tried many instruments, and this is the best one I’ve ever played!

Taiko (太鼓) means “big drum” in Japanese. The music typically follows a Jo-ha-kyū (序破急) – begining, middle and speeds up quickly in the end of the piece. There are two types of Taiko: “Byou-uchi daiko” (鋲撃ち太鼓, tacked-struck drum) taiko have heads nailed to the body. “Shime-daiko” (締め太鼓, tightened drum), have heads sewn onto iron rings, which are then laced to each other around the drum body. Taiko is played with two heavy strait wooden sticks called Bachi.

Parts of the Taiko:

  • Ko – the body of the drum.
  • Hara – the center of the skin.
  • Fuchi – the edge of the top and bottom of the drum.
  • Kawa – the skin.
  • Mimi – the excess skin that wraps around the side of the taiko.
  • Byō – the tacks that hold the skin on a taiko.
  • Kanagu, or Kan – the ring shaped handles on larger nagadou taiko. (“Kanagu” literally means metal fixtures, or hardware).
  • Nawa – the rope on a shime or okedo daiko.

I’m not confident enough to participate in a performance, but I enjoy playing the drums every week! Some of my favorite songs are Matsuri Daiko, Matsuri Hanagasa, Hachijo, Run and Miyake.

Here’s another video. The song is called ‘Inaka no Kisha’. I have more video’s at my YouTube channel.

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Categories: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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  1. Pingback: 1st Annual Farmingville Cultural Festival « Shinrin Art Blog

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