Kinnara Taiko is the oldest Japanese American Buddhist taiko group in North America, formed in 1969, and is named after the celestial musicians of Buddhism.
As a Buddhist group, emphasis is placed on participation, self-awareness and discovering the joy in “just” playing.
Kinnara is also based in the tradition of Japanese and Japanese American festival drumming, which blends traditional Japanese rhythms with American musical influences from rock to jazz to reflect the experience and lifestyles of its members.
Kinnara was the first group to make their own drums from oak wine barrels, as well as their own costumes and compose and choreograph performance pieces.
Source: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, April 3, 2010, Kenny Endo & Friends in Concert