World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Jun Daiko

Dance Origin: Japan
Genre: Kumidaiko
Artistic Director/Choreographer: Jun Daiko
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2010

Jun Daiko was established in 2007 by a collective of kumidaiko artists based at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. It takes its name from a Japanese character for "a fortuitous, chance meeting. Members of Jun Daiko performed as the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble, Stanford Taiko, Zenshin Daiko, and Kona Daifukuji Taiko. This vibrant new voice in North American taiko has performed at the Maui Taiko Festival, Shasta Yama, and the International Taiko Festival in 2009. They teach taiko classes for the Mountain View Buddhist Temple Obon.


Dancers/Musicians: Elise Fujimoto, Keith Gushiken, Gabriel Ishida, David Ishimaru, Britney Manago, Yoko Okano, Loreen Toji, Linda Uyechi, Susan Yuen

Taiko refers to the big Japanese drum, and the title of this piece, Tatsumaki, means whirlwind. Together the terms define the explosive, fast-paced rhythms and choreography of North American kumidaiko. Kumidaiko is a unique, continually evolving world-music style, as players continue to add rhythms and instruments from many cultures, and musicians are encouraged to improvise solos to showcase their skills. Each strike of the drum has an accompanying vocal sound, and rhythmic patterns are accompanied by specific whole body movements. These gestures and forms are inspired by martial arts, festival dances, and everyday activities. The clothing also reflects traditional rural life: the merchants' happi coat, and traditional carpenters' nagapachi pants, tabi shoes, teko wristbands, and hachimaki headbands.

Modern kumidaiko as a staged performing art was born in Japan in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1950s jazz drummer Daihachi Oguchi formed a taiko ensemble based on the various parts of a western drum kit. He had the group perform with a quickened tempo, complex rhythms, exaggerated arm movements, and kabuki-style vocals. A Tokyo group, Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, also developed a performance style from theObon festival, and kumidaiko became popular. Master Drummer Seiichi Tanaka brought the form to America in the 1960s, establishing the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, one of the first kumidaiko centers in the U.S. along with Kinnara of Los Angeles and San Jose Taiko. Today there are over three hundred taiko groups in America. Hiroshi Tanaka composed Tatsumaki in 1993 while playing with Stanford Taiko.

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