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Katari Taiko 30th Anniversary Concert

KT_30Rekishi (Histories)
30 Years of Katari Taiko
Sunday, November 1, 2009, 2pm
The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street
$20 (general) / $15 (students & seniors) / $10 (12yrs & under)
+ service charges
For tickets call The Cultch box office at 604.251.1363 • www.thecultch.com
For info call 604.683.8240

When Katari Taiko celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a concert at the newly refurbished Cultch (formerly the Vancouver East Cultural Centre) on November 1, it will mark three decades of dedication to not only the art of drumming, but the community that gave birth to the group.

Katari Taiko rose out of the burgeoning Asian Canadian movement of the mid-seventies, a time when many younger Japanese and Chinese Canadians were beginning to actively question their identities and to explore their Asian heritage. Tonari Gumi was open for business on Hastings Street; Sakura-so, a home for Japanese Canadian seniors, had opened on Powell Street; the Japanese Canadian Centennial Project had published A Dream of Riches, a photographic history of the community; the Japanese Canadian Centennial in 1977 had given rise to the annual Powell Street Festival.

A performance by San Jose Taiko at the 1979 Powell Street Festival was the catalyst for the formation of Katari Taiko, the first group of its kind in Canada. A Japanese group, Ryujin Daiko, had performed at the inaugural Powell Street Festival and the world-renowned ensemble Ondekoza had performed several times in Vancouver, but they were clearly Japanese in both their approach and aesthetic; while they were to be admired, they seemed somehow out of reach. San Jose Taiko, on the other hand, was something else again. As young Asian Americans, they exuded an energy and exuberance that was both inspiring and accessible. The majority of the group were also women, defying the stereotype of the passive Asian female—something that struck a chord with many in the Japanese Canadian community. Following their performance, the members of SJT actively encouraged the formation of a local group and with that, the taiko seed was officially planted on Canadian soil.

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Katari Taiko 30th Anniversay Concert

Rekishi (Histories) 30 Years of Katari Taiko Sunday, November 1, 2009, 2pm The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street

$20 (general) / $15 (students & seniors) / $10 (12yrs & under) + service charges For tickets call The Cultch box office at 604.251.1363 • www.thecultch.com For info call 604.683.8240

Katari Taiko celebrates its 30th Anniversary with [...]

Tribute Concert to Taiko Pioneer Daihachi Oguchi

Nagata Shochu

On Wednesday, November 12 2008, a once in a lifetime event will take place at Kobayashi Hall as former members of Toronto Suwa Daiko (Toronto’s first taiko group 1982-1992), Yakudo, and Nagata Shachu join forces in a tribute concert to taiko pioneer Daihachi Oguchi. Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi was the founder of [...]

Taiko pioneer Daihachi Oguchi dies

I just received news that Daihachi Oguchi, one of the most important figures in the development of modern taiko, has died after being struck by a car in Okaya, Nagano Prefecture, at the age of 84.

While not as well known in the west as groups such as Kodo and Ondekoza, Oguchi helped pioneer the ensemble approach to playing taiko, rearranging traditional compositions for a large ensemble, using his jazz training to great effect. His style of drumming has had a large influence among North American groups as transmitted throgh one of his students, Seichii Tanaka–grandmaster of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo.

According to the CBC website, Oguchi had been scheduled to perform with taiko group Kodo later this year, even though his health had reportedly been failing in recent years.

In the early eighties I visited Japan with five other members of the newly-formed Katari Taiko. It was a mini-pilgrimage of sorts and we visited Kodo on Sado Island, Oedo Sukeroku in Tokyo and Osuwa Daiko in Nagano Prefecture. The visit with Oguchi-sensei left an indelible impression on me as it was one of my first exposures to the complexity of Japanese hospitality as well as the sensei-student relationship. Since that time i have come to understand it better, but at the time it was very alien.

Continue reading Taiko pioneer Daihachi Oguchi dies