Seattle Kokon Taiko traces its roots to the Seattle Taiko Group, which formed in April 1980 following a dynamic performance by Ondekoza at the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival. Since it branched from its predecessor, it now focuses on smaller, more musical performance pieces. Taiko is a dynamic synthesis of rhythm, movement and spirit originating in Japan and evolving as a folk art over the last several hundred years. In Seattle Kokon Taiko, they try to combine the ancient with the modern – a repertoire of traditional pieces and contemporary compositions. Through Taiko, they hope to contribute to the development of a uniquely Japanese American art form—Japanese in origin, American in expression–that weaves threads of continuity between generations and builds bridges of understanding among people of all nationalities and walks of life. Whether dancing at a festival, praying in a temple, watching a theater performance or fighting a battle, the sound of the Taiko could be heard as part of everyday Japanese life for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Many Taiko players, in common with traditional drummers around the world, believe that the spirits of all who contributed to the creation of the drum are embodied within it: the animal who gave the skin, the tree that gave the wood, the person who supplied the labor. “When we strike the drum, we give voice to these spirits; we release them from silence, and in a sense, give them new life.” These echoes through time reverberate in the spirit, and it is this spirit that drives and directs the playing as much as the mind or body. When they all come together – mind, body, spirit – they say you are one with the drum. That is the epiphany towards which all Taiko players strive – to be one with the drum in time with the rhythm of the earth.

www.seattlekokontaiko.org.

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