The history of taiko

For centuries, the Japanese drum, the taiko, has been an indispensable instrument in Japanese life and culture. However, interest in this instrument declined sharply around the middle of the Meiji era (1868 - 1912). Fortunately, traditional percussion has been enjoying great popularity again in Japan for decades, where groups such as Kodo, and previously Ondekoza, are now flourishing.

The Japanese drum was used in ancient times for hunting, communicating, luring or scaring away wild animals and for encouraging soldiers in battle. The drum was also played by ordinary citizens to add lustre to festivities. Even today, drums still have various functions in Japan.

Around 1965, Tagayasu Den developed a new way of playing the traditional Japanese instruments. At first, he was not interested in the music. He founded a commune with mainly young people, where great physical and mental discipline prevailed.

For years, the Circle Percussion players have patiently mastered the unique Japanese playing styles developed by the famous Kodo group. These playing styles differ fundamentally from the western styles and are experienced as very spectacular by both the players and the audience.

At first, Circle Percussion limited itself to the traditional pieces such as: 'Yatai-bayashi', 'Miyake' and 'Odaiko solo'. They turned out to require a different kind of dedication than western musicians were used to. It has always been the balance between power and beauty that made Japanese drumming so difficult and intriguing at the same time.

As the group of players succeeded in mastering the discipline that Japanese percussion demanded, individual freedom became greater both physically and musically.

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