UT News May 2013

Wed, 2013-05-01

We’re gearing up for our busy season! After a marathon drumming session at this year’s TC10K on April 28th, Uminari Taiko played at St. Aidan’s United Church on Sunday, May 5th. Many VNCS members have attended Mochi Tsuki Kai celebrations in the basement but the acoustics in the church itself are great. We had played there last year so it was very nice to have been asked back again this year. The end of May and early June will see us really kicking into high gear. We play Buddha’s Birthday at UVic’s Interfaith Chapel on May 26th at 11:00am, Eric Martin Pavilion Theatre, 2328 Trent St., on May 29th at 7:00pm, and then back up to UVic on June 2nd for WorldFest where we will play in “Celebration Square” behind the MacPherson Library after 4:00pm. Uminari Taiko will also be performing in Campbell River on June 15th as part of their connection with their sister-city, Ishikari, Hokkaido. Our most recent class series ended on May 12th and, as it was an intermediate class, we now have at least several potential apprentices. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to bring new folks into the group before the end of the year. We also have a kids’ class starting in early July so if you have young people – very young people! – in your family, please consider sending them our way.

I’d like to take a few lines to share the story behind Inclu-sion, a documentary about Nagasaki-based Zuihou Taiko that Friends of Music will be showing as part of their Music Movie Wednesday program. Zuihou Taiko is a group comprised of developmentally disabled adults who initially started drumming as a means of therapy. Inclusion tells the story of their struggles to become a professional taiko team and to gain command of a song written for them by Jishouya Ichiro, one of the top taiko masters in Japan today. I first learned of Zuihou Taiko in December 2012 when sharing my long-time plan of teaching taiko to people with disabilities with earthquake survivor, Keiko Sugawara of Iwate-ken. Keiko-san mentioned Zuihou Taiko and I made a note to look them up later. When I found out about the documentary that had been made about them I made ef-forts to acquire a copy. After repeated attempts to contact the production company failed, I turned to former Ondekoza member and respected taiko master Jishouya Ichiro and, thanks to his help, I was able to acquire rights to screen this film in Canada. In the meantime, my friend and teacher, Takagi Mutsumi, who lives a short drive from Unzen Colony in Nagasaki where the Zuihou Taiko folks live, very kindly purchased a copy of Inclusion on my behalf.  Amy Reiswig, the current executive director of Friends of Music has enthusiastically agreed to screen this film as part of her Music Movie Wednesday program as it ties in perfectly with their mandate and Asian Heritage Month. To the best of my knowledge this is the first public screening of Inclusion outside of Japan or the U.S. Admission is free or by donation at Eric Martin Pavilion Theatre, 2328 Trent St. (entrance off 1900 block Fort St.) May 29th at 7:00pm with an introductory performance by Uminari Taiko. We look forward to seeing you there.

Jacob Derksen