Hey, Hi, and Hello Taikoproject Blog Readers!
Welcome to our blog and if you are a new comer we are glad that you are here! If you are a returner, welcome back and thanks for checking in to see what TAIKOPROJECT has been up to! July has been a very busy month with daily performances at the San Diego Safari Park as well as hosting the 2014 World Taiko Gathering in Little Tokyo. Here is a little mix of blog and vlog from the 2014 World Taiko Gathering! Hope you guys enjoy and be sure to like and subscribe to our new vlog channel, “TPtaikoTV”!
The 2014 World Taiko Gathering was held on July 17th -20th and we hosted participants and workshop leaders from all around the world for a weekend filled with taiko workshops, discussion sections, and performances. We had attendees from Japan, Brazil, Belgium, Argentina, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.K. and we all came together in LA to learn and better understand each other’s taiko styles and gain a sense of international taiko community. It was fantastic meeting so many of you during the WTG weekend and we hope you had an amazing time! So let’s break down the weekend.
Thursday July 17, 2014, the first day of the World Taiko Gathering. Registration was busy handing out registration packets to all of the attendees and workshop leaders, and in the evening we held a welcome reception for our guests. At the welcome reception we had a joint performance of “Ashura” by three local taiko groups, Kinnara Taiko, Bombu Taiko and Chikara Taiko, as well as a “How long you have been playing taiko” Jam session. It was great to see and meet everyone and reconnect with people in the taiko community. Thanks to all the SoCal taiko groups who brought food to share for our potluck! We couldn’t have fed everyone without your help so thank you for pitching in! You Rock!
Friday July 18, 2014. We kicked off the morning with a very educational opening session where there was a performance of “Lion Chant” along with presentations by representatives from around the world to talk about taiko in their respective regions. It was so fascinating to learn about how taiko came to be in other countries. After the opening session it was time to start the first round of workshops. In the evening we held a free outdoor performance outside of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) called “Lunar Jam”. It was fun to watch groups from near and far perform! Kudos Lunar Jam performers!!
Saturday July 20, 2014. Saturday was the big day for workshops so the equipment team worked really hard to make sure drums were in the right place at the right time all day long. At lunch time we had two “Nooner Jam” performance locations, outside of the JANM and in the Japanese Village Plaza, so it was hard to miss that there was a taiko function going on since everywhere you turned there was taiko. Great work Nooner Jam-ers! Later that evening was the first Taiko Nation performance at the Aratani/Japanese American Theater where we featured groups from around the world to perform. There were performances by Taro Kobayashi (Tokyo, Japan), SenRai (Sendai, Japan), Kagemusha Taiko (U.K.), TaikOz (Sydney, Australia), Chieko Kojima, Eiichi Saito (Sado, Japan) and Kaoru Watanabe (New York), Kenny Endo (Hawaii), TAIKOPROJECT (LA) and we had some international guest performers in “The Stroll” Grete Moortgat (Belgium), Lucas Muraguchi (Brazil), Michelle de Nevares (Argentina), and Isabel Romeo (Spain). Lets not forget the amazing finale performance of “Tsunami” lead by grand master Seiichi Tanaka (father of American Taiko) from San Francisco Taiko Dojo. The energy was great and the audience was amazing, it was truly an incredible experience to share the stage with so many talented and accomplished taiko players.
Sunday July 20, 2014. The last day of WTG had come too soon. The morning started early with a “Matsuri Crashers” where battlers went head to head to bust out their best Matsuri solos and the audience would declare the winner. Then it was time for the closing session where we had a raffle with many wonderful prizes and members of the taiko community spoke about the hopes and future of World Taiko Gatherings to come. Then we closed out the day with a matinee and evening performance of Taiko Nation. Once all the equipment was packed, we finally were able to call it a day and retire ourselves from the taiko packed weekend.
We need to send out a huge thank you to all of the workshop leaders, volunteers, performers and participants from near and far for making the 2014 World Taiko Gathering such a huge success. It really is special to be a part of this international taiko community and we are so grateful for all the support. To all of the new friends made at the WTG, let’s keep the “Taiko Magic” alive and strong for years to come and let us never forget the 2014 World Taiko Gathering that brought us together. See you next time!