June 30, 2004
I had a taiko performance on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The biggest & best was the one on Saturday evening, at a plush hotel in Naha, for the annual meeting of an organisation that takes disabled people scuba-diving. The taiko group rocked, and performed a pretty mixed set. A lot of the members of the group play other instruments, and one member – Teru – plays guitar in an Okinawan metal band. So the taiko performance was interspersed with various cross-overs: an original (and pretty good!) pop song, with guitars and sanshin (Okinawan banjo), and a taiko-metal cross-over, which worked quite well because both taiko and metal rock hard.
The best bit was the final piece, which suddenly turned into a kachashi (very jolly Okinawan dance) half way through. The plan had been for us to all dance about with the crowd for a bit, then get back onto the stage and resume the piece, but the crowd went so beserk that there was no resuming: we just started banging the drums 1-2-3-4 and shouting along with the kachashi (people shout things like ‘iyasasa! Hai-i-ya! Hai-i-ya!‘ in Okinawan songs – sort of the Okinawan equivalent of olé, I think….). After a bit of that I just handed my sticks to a nearby man and started dancing while he & others took turns at beating the drum. When we stopped, everyone screamed ‘more! more!’, so we just started banging the drums and shouting again, while everyone danced about.
Bonus: I didn’t make as many mistakes as last time, either!