The heart of the Regional Taiko Gathering is the workshops. The workshops will cover a wide range of skills and techniques related to the art of taiko.
Vancouver Okinawa Taiko
Masami Hanashiro is a founder of Vancouver Okinawa Taiko. Hinata Asada (16 years old) has been performing eisa since she was nine years old. Kyoka Yamakawa Shapland (17 years old), is a second-degree black belt in traditional Okinawan karate and kobudo. Despite having joined Vancouver Okinawa Taiko only three years ago, she has become an established member of the group.
Introduction to eisa
Vancouver Okinawa Taiko, based in Metro Vancouver, has been actively performing for the last decade. Our purpose is to share a critical part of Okinawan heritage and culture in the community. The workshop will introduce three types of eisa drums as well as a form of dance, with the intention of having the participants learn a complete piece of the eisa piece Mirukumunari.
Jillian Masuhara has been playing Taiko for over 15 years and is always searching for ways to be more creative. Her background in weightlifting and yoga allow her to draw from all aspects of the physical and mental sides of fitness. Her passion: helping people become more aware of their body, how it moves, finding their strength, endurance, balance, and power. You are only as strong as you choose to be, and by creating a solid foundation, anything is possible.
Participants will engage in a 1 hour 30 min yoga class with the focus being on muscles and joints most used in taiko. They will learn different stretches and mobility work that can also be used with their groups before, after or even during taiko practice. This class will open up the body for full taiko playing potential!
Kristy Oshiro is a professional taiko artist based in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area. She started playing taiko at age 9 in Kona, Hawai’i with Kona Daifukuji Taiko and was an instructor and touring ensemble member of Portland Taiko from 2001-2007 while getting her bachelor’s degree in Music Performance in Percussion at Portland State University. She was also an instructor and youth programs director at Sacramento Taiko Dan from 2007-2014.
Kristy is currently the Artistic Director of the Tsubaki Ensemble, Creative Director of Placer Ume Taiko, instructor for San Mateo Buddhist Temple Taiko, a touring member of Taikoza, and has performed and given taiko workshops across the US and in Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Taiko players of any skill level can enjoy this flashy and fun workshop! Want to learn how to add some dynamic flair to your solos or compositions? Bachi twirling is a very easy and fun way to spice things up. In this workshop you will learn basic twirling techniques and how to best apply them to common taiko rhythms.
Advanced Taiko Drill
This fast-paced workshop will cover lots of taiko drills that work on a variety of skills such as cardiovascular fitness, endurance, speed, dynamics, polyrhythms, and movement between drums and around others. We won't spend too much time on any one exercise in order to get through as much material as possible so bring a recording device and prepare to learn quickly.
Want to learn a new taiko song to bring back to your group? Then this is the workshop for you! In this workshop you will learn parts to an open source song called Click It written by Kristy Oshiro. It is a fun song with hip hop rhythms that require drummers to click each other’s bachi and move around each other. There are three different parts to the song ranging in difficulty from intermediate to advanced to super advanced. It is recommended to have at least 3 people in your group attend this workshop if you want to learn all the parts and definitely bring a recording device.
Gerardo Avila, MA, has been performing professionally since 1974 as an actor. clown, mime, and magician. Gerardo studied clown and mime in Poland, Mexico and Canada. He has been a solo and group performer with the Cirque du Soleil (1984-1987). He has performed in Canada, Mexico and in Europe. Gerardo has worked with Uzume Taiko as a theatre and mask director, and has taught physical theatre, mime, magic, mask work and circus skills in Vancouver and on the Sunshine Coast.
Masks and Stage Presence
The main objective is to teach students principles of performance presence on stage, using masks as the vehicle. Students will learn techniques for the use of neutral and character masks based on mime and physical theatre. Students will be able to use masks on stage, and use mask principles on their own non-mask work. The workshop will include physical theatre exercises, theatre acting games and improvisation through participatory group exercises and exercises of concentration, relaxation and imagination.
Hiroshi Koshiyama & Naomi Gilbert
Hiroshi Koshiyama and Naomi Guilbert are the founding members of Fubuki Daiko, a full time professional taiko group based in Winnipeg. They first met in San Francisco in 1992 while training and performing with Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka and the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In addition to performing and touring with their group, they have taught adults and children in Winnipeg for the past 21 years. They have also offered workshops and classes to college students and taiko groups in Berea, KY, Minneapolis, Ottawa, Edmonton and Thunder Bay.
Does being featured as a soloist intimidate you? Are you uncomfortable making up music on the spot? Even the most rhythmically challenged person can eventually learn to solo. Participants should be familiar with basic taiko skills and technique.
If you can write a sentence, you can compose a song. Stop thinking that only people with extraordinary talent or musical ability can write taiko music. The goal of this workshop will be to create a fully formed song by the end of the allotted time. All ranges of composing experience are welcome, starting with zero. Limited to 15 participants.