Taiko Fest 2015

Narukami Taiko had an epic time in Auckland during the last weekend of November at New Zealand’s only national festival of Taiko drumming.

Organized, coached and led with enormous enthusiasm by Tamashii Taiko, over 100 drummers hammered it out over three intense two-hour workshops before splitting to perform in regional teams live on stage.

Narukami was up second, behind hosts Tamashii, leading our set with Gaina, a piece from written by Kodama in Palmerston North over 20 years ago. Performing live was a terrific experience; we gave a super unified and strong Gaina, then moved on to the more flowing Ujigawa.

Our coach was super proud of the hard work and dedication and energy our team put into the performance – that all teams put in on the night. Personal fave for many in the team was Kagutai, a small team with limited equipment from Edgecombe, who put their all into their performance with such passion and love for Taiko that it shone right through.

We were also lucky to see performances by members of YuNiOn, who brought huge energy and technical acumen to their performance, as well as to their teaching – as they led and participated in all of the advanced workshops. We were so lucky to have the chance to play in unison with three or four times as many people in a class as usual, although we had different levels of skill and experience, the moment when we played Taiko with a large number of people was a rare opportunity.

Having so many advanced players in the workshop groups was great I know I spent a fair bit of time watching other players, picking up how they did things and how they moved. Getting a handle on the basics with intense drills was the focus of the beginner intermediate classes. Everyone got the chance to try improvisation; a great challenge for some, but a fantastic opportunity to unleash creativity and really get into the swing of things.

Watching proper technique and performance showed how something seemingly simple and ordinary can turn into something extraordinary. Over the unifying roar of the drums, you really felt the spirit of the art and got an amazing sense of why we live it. Overall it was an amazing opportunity, I’m so glad we went, and I can’t wait for the next one!

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