Just over a week ago, Odaiko New England founding member Karen Young and advanced student Shane Tysk left Boston and flew to Japan to take part in a two week residency with Shidara. Shidara is a professional taiko group living and practicing in Toei, in the remote regions of Japan’s Aichi prefecture.
During our trip to Japan last September, Karen, Beth, Matt and I visited with Shidara for 3 days. It was an amazing experience. As I expected, Shidara’s members are amazingly talented taiko players. What I was surprised by was how welcoming, friendly, and just down-to-earth they are. You can read about our experiences with Shidara on the 8 Bachi (in Japan) Blog, starting with this post about our arrival.
Shidara is sharing videos and blog posts about the residency, so those of us at home can follow along and wish we were there. Karen wrote a post on their myspace blog; we’re hoping she’ll write some more when she gets back to Odaiko New England (hint, hint).
While they were planning for the residency, Chabo-san, the founder of Shidara (and a huge ham), asked us what we would want if we had the opportunity to participate. I think I went on for about half an hour about all the things I wanted to learn, especially about caring for and playing the shime-daiko, the drum that plays the ji – the base-beat that leads a taiko group. Watching the residency video of Shidara teaching how to tie a shime, I remember a similar lesson on shime tying that we had, and how honored we were that Chabo-san herself taught us the basics of Shidara-style shime technique.
I’m looking forward to following the rest of the Shidara residency vicariously. If I’m lucky, I’ll be there myself next year!