Golden Week Concert - Wow! Taiko Shock!

Wow! Taiko Shock? Yes, that is what Asano Taiko named the special Golden week concert in which I participated last Sunday. I guess, to a native English speaker, it is not very catchy and doesn't really seem to roll off the tongue all that smoothly. Still, this does not mean that it is the same way for Japanese people. Regardless of the name, I was very happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this event. From Friday evening to Sunday evening, my memory is all a sort of blur of rehearsals, schlepping drums, setting up stages, tearing down stages, etc. At some point, though, during one of the times we played our piece, there were a lot of people in front of us watching, they clapped enthusiastically when we finished and before and after we played, there were some very famous taiko players who performed. (I guess that must have been the concert). I haven't seen any video of our performance, so I am not sure really how we sounded. As far as playing the notes and rhythms correctly, I don't recall making any mistakes. Stylistically, musically, etc. it is harder to comment on without actually watching it. However, a very important critic did tell me the next day, "You are a good taiko one, papa." Well, if my daughter was happy, then what more can I ask for?

It was very exciting to be part of this event, though. We were surrounded by world famous taiko performers and groups, who have toured around the world. There were former members of Kodo (Kaneko Ryutaro) a father and his three sons who actually taught Kodo one of their songs (Miyake Taiko) Hono Taiko, who have played concerts all over the world, and others as well. I imagine my feelings must have been similar to my brother and his band when they had their first chance to tour with Grammy award winning band Wilco. We weren't playing in front of 2000 people, like they did, but we played to a full house. The audience had payed 3000 yen per ticket ($30) and there was literally standing room only.

Here is the complete list of peformers/groups who participated in the concert:
Miyakejima Hozonkai - Mr. Tsumura and his three sons
Matto Yume Mitai (the group I am in)
Yamabe Taishi (?) of Kurashiki Taiko
Hanakagami - made up of former members of Hikari and current Hono Taiko members
Kaneko Ryutaro - former member of Kodo
Ayano Yamamoto - a former member of Hono Taiko, classically trained (?) and an excellent shime taiko soloist
Sasuke - Asano sponsored group made up of junior high and high school male and female students. They recently took part in the all Japan Youth Taiko Competition and received honors for Ishikawa prefecture.
Hono Taiko - Asano Taiko's top group, made up of three women

Seeing as this was a real concert, as opposed to a recital, taking video and pictures was not possible, so unfortunately I cannot post any. I did, however, get a picture during the morning rehearsal, which I will put up. This is Hono Taiko and Sasuke playing the song called "Shoko". Later, I may have a chance to put up a performance of the song at a different event. In the mean time, use the picture to imagine what it sounds like.

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