Cuba Dupa

After months and months of planning, practices, and workshops, Cuba Dupa was finally here. Wellington's annual street carnival, 2 days packed with performances and parades, and we were a part of it! Narukami Taiko joined hands with Taikoza (Wellington), Mukume (Kapiti), and Kodama (Palmerston North) to bring Wellington its first ever Taiko Matsuri! This was the brainchild of Murray of Taikoza, who spent time in Hiroshima and wanted to bring the real matsuri experience to Wellington. We started off the performances split into our respected teams, at four different ends of the Cuba Dupa boundary. Narukami Started off at the top of Cuba Street with a 10 min performance bringing in the crowds. We were then joined by the Yosakoi Japanese Dancers who paraded down the street with us, clapping along to our beats with their naruko; while we hoisted our drums on bamboo frames on to our shoulders. Don Don Don ‘HA’! Marching through the streets and crossing traffic we get to our last solo performance in Marion St. A bit early on time, we had to quickly improvise and play some unplanned songs. We were ready to meet with the other teams. Walking through to Leeds St carpark we could see things weren’t exactly going to plan. The teams were all a jumble trying to get drums and space. Though hitting a few hitches, the performance kicked off. Taking turns to play, all four teams demonstrated their individuality. Taikoza playing ‘Hono Daiko’; Narukami next with ‘ujigawa’ a song representing a river in Kyoto where a famous battle took place; Kodama performing ‘Samurai’ a fast paced song created many years ago; and Mukume with ‘Seiryu’ a taiko piece inspired by Nagara River, and ‘Katano’ a song created by Kodama. Playing together Kodama and Narukami bought the audience a song from the heavens. ‘Gaina’ with its loud hits on the side of the drum, and thunderous rolling beats, Kodama and Narukami invoked the spirit of Raijin, god of thunder and lightening. Mukume and Taikoza playing in harmony, bought us ‘Nicho Daiko’ a traditional taiko piece from Hiroshima. Nicho Daiko incorporates Fue (flute) and chappa (handheld symbols) Lastly all together we played Yataibayashi (Chichibu), and Miyake. For our grand finale ‘Hanabi’. A piece taught to us all by YuNiOn, at Taiko Fest. Hanabi, a song representing firewroks beginning with our own solos, and coming together for an explosive ending. Finally after 2 hours of performing, months of practice, and dripping with sweat, Cuba Dupa was over! Thank you everyone who put their time and effort into making our performances memorable!

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