The Sakura Taiko Takeover at the Tidal Basin is our biggest event of the year. Part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, if we’re lucky, it actually takes place among blooming cherry trees, as it did last year. While this year’s event was cancelled, we can still enjoy performances by some of the groups that were planning to participate through the magic of the internet.
Oto-Wa Taiko would have been our first guest group from outside the United States, traveling to DC from the Canadian capital. Oto-Wa Taiko members are celebrating the group’s 30th anniversary this year. The name Oto-Wa Taiko, while phonetically reflecting its community of origin, Ottawa, uses two Japanese characters, OTO (音) and WA (和). OTO means sound while WA means harmony. The character WA symbolizes the harmony of spirit among the players with their taiko as they make joyous sound together. Oto-Wa Taiko also conducts general interest taiko workshops and runs taiko classes for anyone interested in experiencing taiko first-hand.
River City Taiko is a community taiko group in Richmond, Virginia, and has been active for nearly ten years. The group gives lessons in traditional Japanese drumming, and performs at a number of events throughout the year in Central Virginia as well as Tidewater and the Charlottesville area. River City Taiko’s mission is to let people of all ages and backgrounds know that taiko is both something that they can enjoy and a community that they can become a part of. If you’d like to learn more, please visit River City Taiko on Facebook and Instagram.
Our neighbors Nen Daiko have performed at every Sakura Taiko event since the tradition began! Nen Daiko is the taiko ensemble of Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, Virginia, and has been performing in the Washington DC metropolitan area for over 25 years.
While we don’t have video, we’d also like to give a shoutout to the other groups that were planning to travel to DC: Taiko Tides from Stony Brook, Columbia Taiko from Columbia University, and the Swarthmore Taiko Ensemble. And stay tuned for another post with video of our Mark H Taiko groups!