Learning new moves with Kris Bergstrom and Minh Nguyen.

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko Newsletter

Breathing New Life into Our Music

It’s always exciting when we get to welcome a guest to our practices. Recently we were joined by taiko performer, composer and choreographer Kris Bergman, along with dancer Minh Nguyen, for a morning of drumming and dance. Kris and Minh have been travelling and teaching songs, playing styles, choreography and drumming techniques to taiko players around the country. During their time with us, we concentrated on refining one of our original compositions, Ibuki

We first performed Ibuki in 2013 as a collaboration with Afriky Lolo, a West African dance troupe located in St. Louis. The music draws upon traditional African rhythms but is played on the taiko. Afriky Lolo’s dancers joined us onstage, creating a audio-visual experience that blends two diverse cultures. But when we aren't performing Ibuki with Afriky Lolo, how do we create visual appeal without losing the character of the music? In come Kris and Minh, who offered fantastic guidance to refine our choreography.

Above: Kris and Minh demonstrate control in mirroring each other's movements.

Below: The group practices new movements.

After just one morning of experimentation we came out with a ton of ideas and have been refining the movements to be performance-ready. We're looking forward to sharing the "new" Ibuki with our audiences!


Free Performance this Sunday

We return to the Maryland Heights Community Center on February 23rd for the second annual WorldFest. This family event celebrates the diversity of the community through food and music. Spend the afternoon with us and enjoy Samba, Irish and Bulgarian dance, belly dancing, Zydeco, taiko and other musical performances at this free event!

Sunday, February 23, 2020
12:00 - 5:00 PM
Maryland Heights Community Center
2300 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights, MO
Taiko Performance: 3:10-3:55 Main Stage
Demonstration: 4:15-4:45 Milennium Room C

Song Profile: Hachijou

Composed by Ondekoza

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko's version of Hachijo was adapted from a piece called "Utsu-Hachijo," composed by Ondekoza. It is said that 400 years ago, a Samurai warrior washed ashore on the island of Hachijo after losing a battle and was unable to return to his home. Forced to spend his remaining life on the island, the warrior replaced his swords with bachi (drumsticks), drumming and singing to express his longing for his home.

Image by Ed Casabar Photography

Throughout its history, Ondekoza has shared its music throughout the taiko community, and many of the group's compositions are now performed by groups around the world. Our arrangement of Hachijou places the drums on very low miyake stands, which requires great power, concentration, and flexibility to play.

Thank you to Ed Casabar Photography for the above photos, taken at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Sake and Sakura - Tickets on Sale Now

Missouri Botanical Garden's annual spring celebtration, Sake and Sakura, takes place Friday, April 3 and tickets are now available for purchase at the garden. Tickets are $25 ($20 for garden members) and include a keepsake  tasting cup, sake samples, an opportunity to tour the Japanese Garden's Teahouse Island, and admission to our live taiko perfromance.

This popular event sells out each year, so be sure to order your tickets soon! (Attendees must be 21 or older)

We are a non-profit group that performs the art of taiko around the St. Louis area and the world.
Copyright © 2015 St. Louis Osuwa Taiko, All rights reserved.
10734 Trenton Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63132
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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko · 10734 Trenton Ave. · St. Louis, MO 63132 · USA

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