Odaiko New England

Taiko 10 Here We Come!!!

Great news! Odaiko New England has been selected to perform at this year’s Taiko 10!!! The Taiko 10 is a free outdoor community concert held in association with the North American Taiko Conference, a biennial gathering of taiko enthusiasts from all over the world, which is taking place in Los Angeles on August 7-9 this year. The Taiko 10 is meant to showcase the geographic, cultural, and artistic diversity that has developed within the North American taiko community– each group gets 10 minutes to show their stuff. It’s a particular honor to perform at this event because we’ll be putting ourselves out there in front of an entire community of our peers– nowhere else will we find an audience so packed with people who know and love taiko inside and out, people who have seen it all. Sure, it’s a tad intimidating– but this couldn’t be a more ideal year for us to make our Taiko 10 debut– it’s Odaiko New England’s 15th anniversary, it’s the one year anniversary of our new community group, and it’s now been a year since we successfully transitioned artistic leadership of the group. What a great way to show the community that the energy, spirit, and joy of taiko is not only alive and well in this new iteration of ONE, but is growing, thriving and evolving! Onwards and upwards, as Mark would say.

Playing in the Taiko 10 will be particularly meaningful for me, as it’s somewhat of a personal homecoming– I left the warm sunny skies of Los Angeles almost 8 years ago, before I had the chance to learn how to play taiko. In my six years with Odaiko New England since then, I’ve probably performed close to a hundred shows. Yet most of my family and friends have never seen me perform, including my 92-year old grandmother, who has been an avid taiko fan for the past several years.

Me and Grandma at the 2005 Taiko Conference

Me and Grandma at the 2005 Taiko Conference

She has macular degeneration and can now only distinguish shadows and shapes, but somehow she still gets a great thrill out of watching taiko. I guess that just goes to show the universal power of taiko to reach out and inspire people of all ages, cultures, and abilities– that, I think, is the true spirit of the Taiko¬†10, and it’s why WE’RE TOTALLY GOING TO ROCK THE JACCC PLAZA ON FRIDAY AUGUST 7!!! There’s no room for nerves, intimidation, or anything less than 110% when you realize it’s not about you or how many mistakes you make or whether you’re as good as all those West coast groups– it’s really about the 92-year old blind woman in the front row who is counting on you to awaken that raw, visceral, exuberant piece of her soul that’s still there somewhere inside, even after 92 years. So rest assured, we’re not flying 3,000 miles across the country to deliver anything less than 10 minutes of raw, visceral exuberance!

Want a sneak peek? Check out the audition clip that earned us a spot:


1 comment to Taiko 10 Here We Come!!!

  • I love your take on the performing. It’s all about your grandma. Even if your own grandma is not there, somebody’s probably is and they’re probably having a great time. Last year, when one of the groups I’m in had a chance to play at a concert with a bunch of big, famous taiko names, I used a similar technique to help get over the nerves. My daughter came to watch the show, so I found her in the audience and just thought about playing for her. After the concert she found me and had a big smile on her face and said, “Papa, you’re a good taiko one.” That’s all the approval I need.