13 August 2006

Bon Odori Festival

Dropped by Olympia's annual Bon Odori Festival at dusk last night. Hundreds of folks lined the street to watch the traditional Japanese dancing...or join in themselves. Some of the music was taped, but it was enhanced by drumming from Northwest Taiko, who later performed to rapturous cheers.

I've always seen taiko indoors, in performance halls and such, so it was great to see it in a more traditional setting. And my sensitive-eared companion appreciated not being in an enclosed space with these big-voiced drums.

Granted, Olympia isn't set up like a traditional Japanese village. But the authentic lanterns (a gift from Olympia's sister city, Yoshiro) gave a great ambiance as the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains. Here's a short video clip (my first YouTube experiment!)


If you haven't seen taiko performed live, you haven't really experienced it. It's a combination of music and dance and martial art, using the whole body (particularly on the very large drums).

Free taiko mp3s? I'm glad you asked:

[mp3] Kobushi: "Afro-Taiko"
more Kobushi mp3s

[mp3] HOW Taiko Drumming Group: "Stacking Straw Rice Bag Song"
[mp3] HOW Taiko Drumming Group: "Spring Mountain Melody/Hachijo Island Taiko Duet"

[mp3] On Ensemble: "Taiko Overtone Quartet"
(a fantastic cultural hybrid pairing taiko with throat/overtone singing)
more On Ensemble mp3s

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