Making New Connections
October began with a flurry of performances, but the month was highlighted by two diverse workshops, where we learned new music, practiced new instruments, and shared a whole lot of taiko love.
At the beginning of the month, we opened up our studio for a two-day workshop, led by Kyle Abbott of Bachido, the online “home” for shamisen players. Participants came from around the Midwest and South, plus as far away as Hawaii, Montreal, and even Germany, to study the shamisen, taiko, and shinobue, and to learn a new song called Tacoma Bayashi.
This is the first time performing member Katie Lee got to try out a shamisen. It may have been a little intimidating at first, having no experience with the instrument, but with a balanced mix of new and experienced players - plus several instructors providing personal guidance - she quickly became hooked!
Joel Balestra has been studying with the Bachido community for more than five years and currently performs shamisen with us, as well as with the Gaku and Niji Choral groups in St. Louis. After working with Kyle to bring the workshop to St. Louis, he was thrilled to finally meet face to face and show off a bit of St. Louis. Joel is now armed with several shamisen, available for rent or sale courtesy of Bachido, and is looking forward to building on the lessons learned over the weekend.
We also had the opportunity to participate in the second annual kaDON Fall Retreat in Wisconsin, hosted by online taiko and fue community, kaDON. This year's participants studied with Kaoly Asano of GOCOO, a Tokyo-based taiko ensemble known for intense energy and tribal grooves.
Kaoly uses her entire body, extending to the tip of her bachi
(drumstick), to express the energy and spirit of taiko.
Participants learned a piece written by Kaoly, called ELEVEN, which combines drumming and chanting; for many, the song provided renewed energy and a new understanding of what it means to play taiko. At the end of the weekend, everyone performed the piece, the first time to ever be performed in North America. Watch the entire performance here
Saturday, November 16 - 10:00 AM
Brentwood Recreation Complex
2505 South Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, MO
Join us for a free performance and beginner's workshop celebrating the City of Brentwood's 100th birthday!
Sunday, December 15 - 2:15 PM
Saint Louis Art Museum - Farrell Auditorium
1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO
Head out to Forest Park for this annual family event inspired by holiday traditions from around the world.