We continue to be inspired and amazed teachers who share their love and knowledge of taiko.

Bachicamp St. Louis

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.

Katie practices shamisenLeft: 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 AsanoAbove: 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!


Upcoming Events

Centennial Celebrations 
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!

Winter Celebrations
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. 

Seasonal Celebrations: Undokai 


Every October, schools in Japan hold sports festivals, called undokai, to encourage team building through athletic competition. Students group into color-coded teams of red and white, considered good luck in Japan, to compete in relay races and cheering contests. Gymnastics and dance presentations are also held, and may feature a group of students, a class, and sometimes the entire student body. All grades participate in the daylong activities. Parents and families join to cheer the children on and provide boxed lunches to eat together during recess and enjoy the outdoors. 

Undokai dates back more than a century and only recently became a national public holiday to commemorate the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo and to promote teamwork, sports, and an active lifestyle. 

Coincidentally, taiko was also performed at the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics! Led by Daihachi Oguchi (founder of modern ensemble taiko and the founder of our group), Osuwa Daiko performed an original composition called Isami Goma, meaning "Running Horses." It is said that the music conjures the feeling of wild horses galloping across the plain, celebrating and wishing the horses good fortune. We perform an adapted version of Isami Goma called Tonbane Daiko, meaning "jumping taiko," where drummers jump between drums.

*Image by Brundall Primary School (United Kingdom)

Support St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

It seems like our summer festival season has just ended, and the holiday decorations are already coming out. Whether you shop early or are a procrastinator, don't forget that you can support St. Louis Osuwa Taiko while you shop! Just visit AmazonSmile and select St. Louis Osuwa Taiko as your preferred organization. Every time you shop, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to our group, helping us to maintain our studio, equipment and costumes. Thank you for your support!
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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