Ok, so it has been a week since my last post. I don't feel so bad considering last week-end and the beginning of the week was pretty busy. Good busy! Taiko busy.
I play taiko, or Japanese drums. I was immediately drawn into the first taiko show I ever saw, by Japan's famous KODO drummers (www.kodo.or.jp) back in 1987 and have been a fan ever since. Last week-end KODO played two amazing shows here in Montreal, the last stop on their two-month North American tour; I am still filled with the energy that they shared with the audience. If you ever have a chance to see them perform, it is more than worth it!
This is Yuichiro Funabashi and Yosuke Oda playing an extremely demanding piece called Miyake.
Taiko is many things - discipline, practice, hard work (very hard!!!), sharing, passion, practice, pushing your limits, fun, practice, acceptance, finding your energy center, and oh yeah... practice. Once it is truly a part of your life it will remain there always; you will want to give and share it with others because of all that it brings to you.
Hard to aptly describe.
KODO inspires most taiko players because they seem to live and breathe and exude what the essence of taiko is. They have many fans and admirers all over the world, and yet they are the most down-to-earth people you could ever hope to meet. Generous of heart and knowledge. We went out for drinks and a chat after the show.
So this is where I mention my craft... sort of: I made bookmarks for all of KODO's members and gave them to Crissy to give them out while I was not around. They looked a little like this, with my hand-carved stamps of taiko drums on them:
There are taiko groups in Canada (since 1979) and in the USA (since 1968). Our friend from the States, Crissy, a long-time friend of Kodo who studied with them for a year, was also in Montreal last week-end to help KODO with their shows. She is also a wonderful teacher and she generously gave us two workshops while she was here. We learned so much from her. Again, hard to describe just how much.
To my utter horror, I was asked to give them out to everyone myself. You're probably thinking I should have been thrilled - absolutely NOT. A crawl-in-the-hole-&-blow-the-hole-up kind of moment... But I did it. This is me giving them to Masayuki Sakamoto and Natsuki Saito. I'm in the orange jacket so you don't see my crazy giddy expression - I don't remember a thing. Such a groupie.
It's now 12:30 in the morning, my birthday! Forty big ones. Looking forward to 40 more...