Taiko comes to U

By By Matthew Barney

By Matthew Barney

Kingsbury Hall will host the Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble this Friday at 8:00 p.m. The event is free for all U students.

Taiko, the Japanese word for drum, is a musical instrument that includes both percussive and movement elements. For approximately 2,000 years of Japanese history, taiko has been used in various ways, including festivals, religious rites, harvest celebrations, daily village life and on the battlefield, where the drum’s sound was used to intimidate the enemy and give commands to the troops.

American-style taiko is a more recent, modern version. In effect, it takes more liberties with instrumentation and movement, and isn’t necessarily restricted by the more traditional Japanese forms.

“Taiko is a great cultural opportunity because it is an art form from Japan. It is also great for enthusiasts of the performing arts because it incorporates all the different aspects: theatre, music and dance, with an emphasis on drumming,” said Alexandra Gregory, chairwoman of the Performing Arts of the ASUU Presenter’s Office and a Chronicle writer.

Formed in 1999, the Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble has fused the art of taiko with classical elements and American style, as well as other instruments. Throw in some theatricality (costumes, set, lighting) and an inspired set of modern-dance moves, and the result is a combination of world melodies and hypnotic rhythms with a rock-concert atmosphere.

Known for its use of spectacular lighting, modern visual and artistic props, as well as both classical and traditional choreography, this ensemble performance is one worth seeing.