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What is Taiko

Literally meaning “drum,” taiko is known for its thunderous sound and stunning, stylized choreography. With a 2,000 year-old history, taiko has its roots in Japanese court, theater, religious/ceremonial and festival music, where the taiko was just one instrument of many that comprised the ensembles that performed this music. In the mid-20th century, the kumi-daiko style evolved, which featured ensembles made up solely of drums. Since then, kumi-daiko has enjoyed tremendous popularity and in the US it has become a celebrated symbol of heritage and culture for the Japanese American community.

In addition to the taiko, Tsukasa Taiko is unique in that it presents not only the kumi-daiko style, but other forms of music that include other instruments, such as the shamisen (three-stringed lute) and the shinobue (transverse bamboo flute). The shamisen has a rich tradition in the folk and classical music of Japan as does the shinobue, which holds a prominent role in kabuki theater music as well as matsuri festival music. With these instruments, Tsukasa Taiko performs music that includes ozashiki (chamber music), minyo (folk music) and ohayashi (classical/folk/theater music) styles, representing many Japanese musical traditions that are now rarely heard. Tsukasa Taiko is proud to have a role in the preservation, development and presentation of these cultural art forms.