What is taiko?
Taiko literally means 'drum' in Japanese, but can also be used to refer to the modern style of Japanese drumming ensembles.
Taiko have been an important part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years. Its origins lie in the many temples and shrines throughout Japan where they are played during ceremonies and festivals. Throughout history taiko drums have also been used in kabuki and noh theatre, dance and music. It is only since the 1950s that taiko has become a performing art in itself known as 'kumi daiko', and spread throughout the world with the help of professional touring groups like Ondekoza and Kodo. Japan currently has between 10,000 - 15,000 taiko groups playing many different styles.
About kaminari UK
Kaminari UK was founded in 2008 after a few wokshops with Liz Walters of Tamashii Daiko.
A few of the people from York and Leeds started meeting regularly to practice what they had learnt, and a few months later Kaminari UK was born.
The group are mainly self taught, but with various members attending other workshops. They practiced weekly on old floor toms from kit drum sets, then slowly started to build up their Japanese drums (wadaiko). After the group played at a couple of low key events and started to gain confidence in playing to an audience, Kaminari practiced hard to improve their skills and style.
Now Kaminari have performed at a wide range of events including the Galtres Festival, York Peace Festival, National Railway Museum's 10th anniversary of the Japanese bullet train, UK Taiko Fest, music and beer festivals, annual Japan days, fundraisers, private parties and weddings etc.. There is now also a 'Tanka and Taiko' show where kaminari have collaborated with two renowned York poets, a Japanese dancer, a flautist, a koto and shamisen player, which has been showcased with great success at literary festivals and the like. Some of the pieces that Kaminari play have been taught and adapted, some are traditional Japanese pieces and some are composed by group members. Kaminari have also performed and conducted workshops at many schools, giving pupils an opportunity to experience playing taiko and learn a little about Japanese culture.
A few members have recently also travelled to Japan to train with the world famous
group 'Kodo' at their apprentice centre on Sado island.The group now continually strive to improve their skills and performance through regular training and practice, and currently run workshops and classes for adults and children alike.
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