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Above: Kitsune Taiko Group 2002-2004, Photos by Adam Momii, Danny Yamauchi, and Bryan Yamami
The word taiko means big drum in Japanese, taiko has been around for almost two thousand years, and is very popular with people both young and old.
Above: San Jose Taiko Group Zellerbach Auditorium, Berkeley California, November 2003; Kinnara Taiko Group, Canyon de Chelly, Navajo Nation, Arizona, August 28, 2001 from BIG DRUM: Taiko in the United States DVD
The two oldest taiko groups in the United States are the San Francisco Taiko Dojo (1968) and Los Angeles’ Kinnara Taiko (1969). Today there are over 200 taiko groups across America.
Above: Photos from BIG DRUM: Taiko in the United States museum exhibition, by John Marchena
Most Taiko Groups use 3 drum types: Nagado are long with a tacked drumhead; Okedo are lightweight tuned with ropes; and Shime are small and higher-pitched with rope-tensioned heads.
Level 1: Yuiyo Bon Odori (“Just Dance” Bon Odori), 1984
Music and Lyrics by Nobuko Miyamoto of Great Leap, Masao Kodani
Level 2: Tsunami, 1986
Composed by Seiichi Tanaka
Performed by San Francisco Taiko Dojo
Zellerbach Auditorium, Berkeley, California
Produced by Bridge Media, Inc., courtesy of The Spirit of Taiko
from BIG DRUM: Taiko in the United States DVD
Level 3: Gardener’s Song (Gadena Bushi), 1998
Lyrics by Nobuko Miyamoto of Great Leap, Masao Kodani
Music by Nobuko Miyamoto