Torrance-based Asano Taiko U.S., offshoot of Japan’s 409-year old drum company, Asano Taiko, celebrates its 5th anniversary with a full-length concert featuring ensembles from Southern California, San Francisco, and Japan.
The concert reconnects artists who performed at the company’s founding, Yoko and Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, and Seiichi Tanaka of San Francisco Taiko Dojo, with ground-breaking Los Angeles ensembles including Kinnara Taiko, TaikoProject, and UnitOne.
The concert is to be held Sunday, July 29 at 3:30pm at Aratani Theater in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Tickets are $30, available at jaccc.org.
Founded in 1609, Asano Taiko crafts Japanese drums from massive cylinders of solid wood carefully dried, hollowed, and shaped.
The instruments are individually made to order in a labor-intensive process that takes years to complete.
Asano Taiko U.S. opened in July of 2013 to provide better access to these instruments and to support the burgeoning art form of ensemble taiko here in Southern California.
In conjunction with the instrument store and showroom, the Asano Taiko U.S. facility includes two soundproof classrooms designed by acousticians from Japan specifically for taiko.
The facility is home to Los Angeles Taiko Institute, a dedicated taiko school run by professional taiko players that hosts over 200 weekly students, many of whom will perform in the 5th Anniversary concert.
Also performing is Seiichi Tanaka, the man credited with launching taiko in North America through his founding of the first major American ensemble, San Francisco Taiko Dojo.
He shares the stage with Los Angeles’ Kinnara Taiko, the second major ensemble to form in the US. Kinnara Taiko dramatically bolstered the early spread of taiko through its development and teaching of drum-making techniques that utilize local wine barrels.
This innovation allowed enterprising groups to build their own instruments, fueling the rapid expansion of taiko to more than 200 ensembles in North America today.
Japanese artists Yoko and Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, and Yosuke are current and former members of Kodo, the group most widely credited with spreading ensemble taiko internationally.
The Asano Taiko U.S. 5th Anniversary Concert brings these critical contributors together, showcasing diverse and creative takes on the art of taiko.