Thursday, August 11, 2011
After our taiko drumming experience, we took a short break and had tea and treats and then proceeded to set the room up for a music improvisation workshop, which I had offered to do for Yasuyo’s community. We had a delightful intergenerational mix of folks and spent the next two hours engaged in some fantastic and fun music improvisation with a host of instruments and plenty of vocal experiences. I cannot think of a better way to spend a day in Japan-music music and more music. Heaven on earth in my book!
I have long loved the movement, power and sound of the Japanese Taiko drums and I had mentioned this to my wonderful host Yasuyo and she gave me the gift of a lifetime- the chance to not only hear a group perform but to play these incredible drums myself. We arrived at the music studio where the group “Gonna” practices and this dynamic group of musicians set up the large Taiko drums and a marimba and began to play. The sheer volume of power of the Taiko drums feel like a literal “wall of sound and vibration” sending the rhythms pulsing through every cell of your body. It is an amazing feeling to be in a rather small room with these drums. POWERFUL!!
After spending the afternoon in this quaint mountain village, we made our way back through the mountains as the sun was setting and the sky was lit up with periodic lightening and even a rainbow! We stopped in another small town to witness the celebration of Bon (which is a festival to celebrate the dead). In this small town people of all ages, some in traditional dress and others in modern street clothing all gather together to dance the traditional dances while musicians play in a small gazebo like building in the middle of the street.