So how did my interest in Taiko begin?
To be honest, I had never heard of the term, and probably never would have, if I hadn’t taken Japanese. It all began around halfway through the second semester, when our Japanese teachers informed our class that we would be greeting Tamagawa Taiko at the train station to take them to Haverford College.
Needless to say, even though I didn’t know what Taiko was, I was still incredibly excited. Our whole class was raring to try out our Japanese on native speakers and see how fluent we had become. At the train station, we met the dancers and drummers for the first time, and though our Japanese was fairly terrible, we were astonished at how we could communicate in a different language. I talked to two or three of the students, and some of them tried their English out on me as well.
After watching the students set up the stage for their performance and talking to them over lunch, our Japanese class dispersed and headed off to our other classes of the day.
At night, we gathered once more to watch their performance. With the first few beats of the o-daiko, I was struck speechless. The sound of the drums reverberated throughout the hall, and the strength and power combined with the elegance of the movements had me hooked. When the dancers came on, their grace and fluidity along with their near-perfect coordination amazed me beyond words.
That performance marked the moment when I realized that I had to try Taiko for myself. And thus, my interest in Taiko was born.
Although Tamagawa Taiko will not be returning to Haverford College this year, they will be at the Cherry Blossom Festival as well as at the Painted Bride, Swarthmore College, and a few other venues. Their performances are brimming with energy and enthusiasm, and I highly recommend watching one!