Meet the Warriors of Ki
We re-opened our practice studio a few months ago, but in order to maintain a safe practice environment we've had to make some adjustments like enhanced cleaning. Our biggest change, however, is in the size and frequency of our practices. It isn't possible for us to practice as a full ensemble and maintain recommended social distancing, so we've divided into smaller groups of four to five people, giving everyone some time with the drums.
Performing members Andrew, Hitomi, Heather and Rieko, along with community group member Audrey, have teamed up to form the Warriors of Ki. The team began by practicing physically demanding songs requiring strength and endurance with Ki, or energy. This was the inspiration for our group name but recently we have begun to focus on more technical compositions filled with fast rhythms and unusual time signatures.
Hitomi practices a swing beat on the shime.
Learning fast tempo songs and complicated sticking patterns can be intimidating for newer members. This is especially true during a busy performance schedule when there is not a lot of time to practice together. We've been able to take advantage of the smaller group format to break down challenging sections, gradually building up speed with greater precision. Heather is excited about the progress. "I usually gravitate toward songs that have a lot of physical movement and didn't give parts on the smaller drums much thought. It's been a fun challenge to learn the different styles and build up speed."
Of course, we wish everyone could be together but for now we're grateful for our practice sessions so we can get our taiko "fix." We hope you are all staying well and finding creative ways to be involved in your favorite activities!
Photography by Audrey Simes.