Making a Joyful Noise - Taiko Workshop March 28
by Alice de Anguera
Japanese Taiko drumming? Here in little ‘ole Moab? Yes, Moab Taiko Dan has been bouncing drumbeats off the red cliff walls since 1994 and they are still at it today! The art of taiko drumming may have come all the way from Japan, but it has never been more relevant or more fun. You can give it a try when Sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan visits Moab to give a beginners’ workshop on Saturday, March 28th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Drumming in ancient Japan served the community. Drums echoed in celebration or as a call to action (quick, bring in the meats from the drying rack, the monsoon is coming!). Legend tells of powerful drums used to intimidate enemies in battle. Taiko drums were also used in Buddhist and Shinto religious ceremonies (and still are today) to guard against disease and crop failure. Taiko drumming as a performance art is a recent phenomenon, interweaving this rich history with modern stories and rhythms into fun and soulful ensemble pieces.
The desert drummers of Moab each gravitated toward taiko for different reasons. Kevin Fitzgerald, easily recognized as the tallest drummer and sometimes the only male, says, “It’s the Zen within the drums that keeps me and my life in rhythm.” Ann Austin, one of the newest members, likes the fact that drumming “requires coordination of almost all of your senses.” Nan Powell, a longtime member of Moab Taiko Dan (MTD), feels that, “we give to each other, then back to the community. Taiko creates community.” Like in ancient Japan, MTD drums for the community, to lift spirits, and to push themselves and others to persevere when the going gets tough. MTD drums for three Moab Half Marathons each year, plus a concert at the Moab Arts Festival in May, as well as other community events. A favorite song, “Kokorozashi,” brings the audience along on a journey of spirit. It was written by Tiffany Sensei to honor a Sacramento drummer who had continued to play taiko and live to the fullest during her fight against cancer. Moab Taiko Dan currently has one member in recovery from a stroke, and drummers send their love to her through the music. Whether it is illness, too much work, or not enough work, making more noise with more gusto than you ever thought possible is a great way to get through it. The road may be long, but with a little help from our friends, we can keep going and “sometimes there are strawberries,” as honorary MTD member Lou Liberty put it.
So why not? If you’ve ever faced hard stuff or wanted a reason to make resounding and delightful amounts of noise, come check it out. Tiffany Sensei will be here March 28th and the beginner class costs just $40. No experience or equipment necessary, and no commitment to continue. Call Alice at (206) 794-9416 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.