What is Taiko?
"Taiko" is a Japanese word for drum. It can also refer to the modern style of kumi-daiko, in which multiple performers play different varieties of drums in an ensemble.
The art of taiko carries deep significance in Japanese culture. Japanese mythology begins with the legend of Amaterasu Omikami, a Sun Goddess who, overwhelmed by her curiosity about an unusual dance to the beat of taiko, emerged form a cave to illuminate the world. Samurai warriors also used taiko on the battlefield to signal commands and frighten their enemies. Townspeople warned of danger by beating on taiko, and priests used taiko at religious ceremonies to communicate with the gods. Temples and shrines throughout Japan display taiko as a symbol of purification and to dispel evil spirits. Until recently, only priests and males of high stature were allowed to strike the sacred taiko.
Around 1950, Daihachi Oguchi, drawing on his background as a jazz musician, put together the first ensemble of taiko of different shapes and sizes to be played by a group of drummers. People loved the high-energy performances, and the style spread. Today there are hundreds of taiko groups around the world.
About Kaminari Taiko
Kaminari Taiko was founded in 1996 by Jay Mochizuki along with a number of talented musicians from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. The members diligently trained under world acclaimed Taiko Masters such as: Daihachi Oguchi, Seiichi Tanaka, Kenny Endo and Takemasa Ishikura to learn the fundamental skills, philosophy and the spirit of centuries old Japanese tradition.
Technical skills were refined through ten years of experience by collaborating with world renowned taiko groups: San Francisco Taiko Dojo and Wadaiko Matsuriza of Disney World Epcot Center, toured to over 20 major cites and performed at over one hundred concerts to live audiences exceeding 150,000 and developed into a prominent performing taiko group.
In addition to stage performances at theatres, festivals and celebration events, Kaminari performers continually refine their skills through mandatory training programs several times per week at their own dojo (studio) and provide weekly taiko lessons for beginner taiko class, weekly public elementary school lessons and fun filled clinical taiko workshops for terminally ill and children with disabilities.
Kaminari's public awareness/support programs have been recognized by many organizations such as: The Consulate General of Japan in Houston, City of Houston Mayors, Camp for All, Japan America Society, Asia Society, Japan Business Association of Houston and Houston Independent School District.
Kaminari mesmerizes the audience with its unique style of dynamic taiko performances inspired by the traditional values of Japanese art and propulsive toe tapping original world beat and rhythms. Combined with an arsenal of over 30 professional quality taiko including the most powerful taiko in the world. Beauty and harmony with the natural environment and human spirit is amalgamated into each explosive taiko music that rocks the theatre with invigorating stage excitement known to produce earthquake with magnitude 7 on the Richter Scale?