26 Aug 2020

Taking Taiko Drumming into Schools

From Nights, 9:48 pm on 26 August 2020

Japanese Taiko drumming is not only a musical artform but also a visual and very physical one, says instructor Steve Seth.

He's also a YMCA fitness trainer who discovered Taiko when he was exploring drum styles that could be incorporated into fitness classes.

Four years ago, Steve began taking Taiko drumming workshops at Auckland schools and holiday programmes with Tamashii Taiko.

Taiko drums echo in NZ classrooms from Asia New Zealand Foundation on Vimeo.

Taiko drumming dates back thousands of years – perhaps to the 6th century, Steve says.

It seems to have originated in China and Korea before it reached Japan, where it has traditionally been used for ceremonies, festivals, communications and also as a tool of war to motivate troops.

The Tamashii Taiko van fits eight big wadaiko drums (which resemble wine barrels) and four kids can squeeze around each, Steve says.

"About 32 [drummers] at a time makes for quite a racket."

Young people think Taiko drumming is fantastic and love getting involved, he says.

"The kids feel the resonance and the power coming out of it and they really enjoy that.

"We went to Otahuhu College and they were all over it, they were great. They were adding their own flavour to it which was something I really enjoyed seeing, as well."

Drumming is like a universal language, and lends itself to fusion, Steve says.

Tamashii Taiko was set to perform with an African drumming group at this year's Auckland International Cultural Festival but due to Covid-19, that was cancelled.