Taiko Legacy 15 and Reduction 6

Tsukasa Taiko 22nd year Journey

Tatsu Aoki’s Taiko Legacy and Reduction

In its most common incarnation Taiko (Japanese drum), is typically heard at seasonal festivals and temples all throughout Japan. The more esoteric and theatrical expression of Taiko is a less frequent and more difficult endeavor, but at the core of Tsukasa Taiko’s artistic and musical vernacular.

At present, the fifteenth-anniversary performance, features two distinct stops on the MCA Stage, continuing along our 22-year journey.

Taiko Legacy 15

Sunday, December 9 | 2:00 pm

Taiko Legacy is one of the largest Taiko drumming concerts in the Midwest. This perennial presentation reunites professional contemporary and classical performers alongside enduring community members to celebrate over two decades of artist directed performance. The multigenerational ensemble Tsukasa Taiko anchors the traditional musical relationship between shamisen, dance, and taiko. The often overlooked melodic capacity of the taiko is unattainable without a thorough awareness of the origins and craft of the traditional Japanese music. This ensemble performance explores the concept using original compositions and arrangements rooted in a broad range of musical styles including: ozashiki (geisha chamber music), minyo (folk music), ohayashi (classical/folk/theater music), and matsuri taiko (festival taiko music).  This year’s featured guests include Melody Takata and the Gen Ryu Arts of San Francisco, classical music grandmasters from Japan, Chizuru Kineya, and chindonya (traditional troubadour) Yasushi Shimazaki.


Reduction 6 – KANREKI Special

Saturday, December 8 | 7:30 pm

Reduction is a refined response to the popularity of mainstream taiko drumming, a trend which sees taiko stripped of its particular musical and theatrical elements. This year’s presentation features special segments from director Tatsu Aoki’s renowned Basser Live concerts to commemorate his achieving kanreki, or 60th birthday. In Japan, this significant birthday celebrates the completion of one Zodiac cycle and is a time to reflect on the past, as well as look ahead towards the future. Revel in the combined stylizations of Chicago’s contemporary creative musicians such as jazz greats Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang, and Nicole Mitchell and classical music masters Chizuru Kineya and Chindonya performer Yasushi Shimazaki, as Aoki brings together his musical influences and traditions for a memorable kanreki ritual.


Special Workshop: CHINDONYA (Street Troubadour)

Sunday, December 9 | 5:30 pm | $25 registration

CHINDONYA is a traditional type of Japanese street musician that advertised for local shops and businesses. The elaborately dressed performers parade through the streets playing music and singing to gather attention for their clients. Nowadays, the chindonya tradition has become more of a rarity in Japan. Taiko Legacy guest artist, Yasushi Shimazaki will present a special hands-on workshop tracing the origins of chindonya culture and explaining various instruments and routines, as well the theatrical implications of being a chindonya in today’s time.