From the online brochure: 'The 64th Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) proudly present the 11th Annual Taiko Gathering scheduled for Sunday, August 8, 2004 beginning at 11:00 am. This free outdoor concert set on the JACCC Plaza showcases local Southern California taiko (Japanese drums) groups. Now in its eleventh year, this event brings over a thousand people to Little Tokyo to experience the sheer power and human spirit of Japanese American taiko.'

This is the omochi-tsuki or Rice Pounding Ceremony which generated some lively exchange from the stage. My guess is that in Japan all this is much more serious than at our Nisei Festival here in California, ElAey.


Audience participation...


Aiko, Windy, and Hana. Fortunately there were chairs in the relative shade of a canopy because it was Hot out there. So hot that Nancy lasted about a minute and Hawaiian Shave Ice was the most popular food stand.


Check out that chick in the lower right hand corner.

Each group played at least two pieces in different configurations and this was a common position, but every time when there was a good player, especially if the player was a woman, the crowd got a nice gasp out it. 'How do they Do that?'


A good taiko history and culture rap.

Let me tell you, they really wack these things, full arm, full strength, legs low and wide apart, Pow.


Kids!


This group was by far my favorite. They had that pop, precision, and muscle that makes drumming both music and performance art.

All the groups are strongly represented by women but here was also a great diversity of age, and their white guy was pretty hot too.

Here's a link to Venice Koshin Taiko website.


She was not just hitting a drum, she was doing the work, sharp, clean, intense - amazing.


The other side of the drum from the above picture with the three foot child on one side and the exceptionally tall man on the other.

The metal instrument was unique to the fellow who is playing it. He is the teacher of three of the groups, the other two being a lot less impressive than this one. The instrument has three tones and played it sounds like the anvil solo in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.


FunFun, Darryl, Angela, and Cynthia came too!


Windy's friend. They were great and examples of this from the online brochure: 'For over forty years, Japanese American taiko groups have further explored what can be incorporated into their music. Influences ranging from ethnic dance, theatre, and hip-hop rhythms all play a role in creating Japanese American taiko. Taiko is interpreted differently in every taiko group in California, and its diversity is well represented in Taiko Gathering.'

They were having a total blast, danced on stage and out into the crowd and got everyone smiling.


One of the other women.


Here is Windy's friend again. Abs. That's all you can say about that!

In case I need to remember - groups included: LA Taiko Okidagumi, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, UC Irvine Jodaiko, Togen Daiko, Kishin Daiko, Kitsune Taiko, Bombu Taiko, Kodama Taiko, UCLA Kyodo Taiko, Venice Koshin Taiko, LA Mugen Taiko, and Yoki Daiko.


It is so much fun to see your friends be happy and doing well.


Tai's caligraphy on display. The festival included many cultural presentations including ikebana, samurai swords, dance exhibitions, etc.

There's a funny story about how Tai would really very much have enjoyed coming to hear the taiko but he couldn't because he had already told these people he was too busy to help at the caligraphy display so he was worried, how could he show up just to see the drummers?


Aiko's friends run this place, a casual and family style cafe in Little Tokyo. The 'plate special' included some nice sashimi, a perfectly fine tonkatsu, seaweed salad, some mandarine orange, rice, and miso soup. For $7.95. A wonderful end to a delightful, entertaining, and practically free day!

 




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