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Tamashii Taiko Drummers
of New Zealand is not affiliated with any of the many similarly-named "Tamashii" or "Tamashi"
groups around the world,
including those in Japan, Africa, the UK or Brasil.
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About Taiko Drumming
Taiko Drumming has been a tradition in Japan for thousands of years, starting with its introduction from China and Korea.
For many centuries, taiko was in a large part a practical tool, with many military uses—such as setting a marching pace, or giving coded orders over long distances. Taiko were also used to mark the edge of village boundaries. When you could hear a Taiko beating, you knew you were on land that belongs to a particular village. This tradition led to the creation of strong & loud playing styles, and larger and larger drums, resulting in the O-daiko (giant drum), the largest variety of Taiko drum.
Over time, Japanese Taiko developed its own unique musical signature and style, moving away from its continental counterparts, and became a staple for every temple ceremony and local festival, with each town and village having their own distinctive beat.
In the 1950s, Daihachi Oguchi, generally regarded as the father of modern Taiko, invented the form as it is seen today. Taking influence from American jazz, he created the first taiko ensemble, making a huge, multi-person version of the standard drum kit. He then took the traditional sounds, heard for thousands of years at the temples and festivals, and infused them with modern beats and rhythms.
In keeping with that tradition, the Tamashii Taiko Drummers continue to blend the old and the new, and the East and the West to create our dynamic and creative performances.
Our drums are all made by our founder, Brian Grove, who combines traditional methods with modern ship-building techniques. Some of our songs have rhythms that have been around for thousands of years, with a modern spin. Others are modern Western pieces, that have been given a particularly Asian flavour. Still others are the original creations of our own team members, and our colleagues around New Zealand.
Today there are believed to be around 30,000 taiko groups worldwide, in virtually every country. As we play and create, we add to the rich fabric and texture of the Taiko tradition, and we strive to foster its continuing development in New Zealand.
Modern taiko drumming (和太鼓) is a very dynamic art form, which fuses ancient rhythms with carefully choreographed movements. There are an estimated 30,000 taiko groups worldwide, since most Japanese schools (at all levels), and towns (of all sizes) maintain a group. Taiko has become very popular internationally as well, and most major cities around the world now have at least one taiko group.
Each song often tells a story, depicting an event or situation. Some of tamashii's songs depict battles, woodcutting, waves, or a sunrise.
Frequently Asked Questions