Sansho [SAHN-show] A mildly hot Japanese seasoning made from the aromatic berries of the prickly ash tree, which are dried and ground into a powder. Also called szechuan pepper by the Chinese.*
Sansho Daiko The newest member of the Vancouver taiko community.
Formed in 2010, Sansho Daiko is a Vancouver-based taiko group that brings a fresh approach to an ancient art form. Drawing on both traditional and contemporary repertoire, the group creates a visual and aural experience that defies easy categorization and crosses ethnic and cultural boundaries. Like the plant it was named after, Sansho Daiko seeks to be a spicy addition to the west coast taiko scene.
The eight members of Sansho Daiko come from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them a wealth of experience. Individual members have played with other taiko groups including Katari Taiko, Uzume Taiko, Chibi Taiko, Steveston Tera Taiko, Gold Buddha Monastery Taiko, Kita No Taiko (Edmonton) and Tokidoki Taiko. What they share is a love for taiko and the enjoyment that comes from being part of a cohesive group. Members who have played professionally bring their broad experience to the rest of the ensemble. Together they create a powerful and joyous sound that resonates long after the last beat has been played . . .
“There is something so exciting about taiko drumming . . . it is such a powerful sound that is almost as amazing to watch as it is to listen to! While I was so thoroughly enjoying the sights and sounds of Sansho Daiko, I thought of a family member of mine who is very musical. He is also legally blind. While I was being visually blown away by the performance, I wondered what it would be like for him to not be able to also see everything that was going on. Of course I knew that he would “feel” the music, but what would it be like for him to not actually see the fantastic athletic and dramatic show?! And then the music changed . . . it was quieter, a soft and gentle sound that was different from what I knew taiko “drumming” to be . . . and I found myself closing my eyes! The sound was absolutely beautiful! Although it still was very nice to watch, the total composition of the evening could still be very easily enjoyed by my blind brother-in-law!
“The quieter bits surprised me and I loved them! It went from such a big, athletic and powerful sound to such a delicate and lovely sound all so seamlessly. I didn’t expect this, and what could be nicer than a musical surprise! I will advise my friends and family to seek out this experience as well!”
Margaret G., Topham Elementary School, Langley
*Sansho wa kotsubu, demo piritto karai. Meaning “sansho” may be small, but they have a potent bite!