In May 2004, Vancouver’s Katari Taiko led a beginner's taiko workshop in Kamloops, B.C. At the conclusion of the workshop, a taiko concert was held to conclude Asian Heritage Month.
The workshop so inspired the workshop "graduates" that a group was soon formed under the umbrella of the Kamloops Japanese Canadian Association. Members of the community were invited to suggest a name for the new group and through this process, the name Raiden Taiko emerged. Raiden, representing a mythological God of Thunder and Lightening and Taiko meaning big drum, seemed to capture the essence of the new group.
The first instruments consisted of Rubbermaid™ waste containers, an inverted metal bucket and sawed off broom handles. From there, the group progressed to drums constructed from PVC pipe, and more recently to today’s performance grade instruments manufactured in Asia and the United States.
A combination of donations, a grant from the NAJC Endowment Fund and endless fundraising enabled cast members to seek expert instruction and attend various developmental workshops. We are grateful to our mentors for sharing not only their technical knowledge but also their passion for and joy of taiko. The list includes Katari Taiko, Doug Masuhara of Steveston Tera Taiko, Kodo Arts Sphere America, Art Lee and Eien Ishikawa Hunter.
The pieces in our current repertoire were created by other artists. We are grateful for the opportunity to interpret their work in our own style. We are in the process of developing original works which will, over time reduce our reliance on the creative work of others.
Raiden Taiko has performed on numerous occasions at Thompson Rivers University, Canada Day celebrations, United Way campaign, Downtown Kamloops Merchant’s Association, CIBC Run for the Cure as well as special events and tournaments. A highlight for cast members is introducing taiko to enthusiastic elementary school students throughout the Kamloops Thompson School District.
Now in its eighth year, Raiden Taiko continues to grow and develop under the principles of our Mission Statement: To advance Japanese Canadian cultural awareness and personal growth and development through Taiko drumming.
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