Greetings Again! In Part 2 of my musical coverage of the Sakura Street Fair we will get a look at and listen to the traditional Japanese drum (taiko) group – Bonten. This was another musical group that came all the way from Japan to perform at the festival. Taken from their website, the group's history is as such:
Led by Masataka Kobayashi, Bonten is a professional drumming troupe consisting of seven male and female drummers who have been trained at Masataka Kobayashi’s taiko institution, the Mirai Taiko Dojo. Bonten was formed in 1999 and debuted in 2000. With a high level of technical ability, energy, and great power of expression, the sounds that they create have mesmerized people from all over the world. While respecting the tradition of taiko drumming, they also incorporate the beats of taiko drums with the Japanese flute, koto, and piano. The chief message they wish to convey to their audiences is the beauty of life.
Besides the shamisen (which was covered in Part 1), the taiko drums are probably the next most (if not equally) recognizable sound and sight for foreigners when talking about Asian music. Japanese culture suggests a mythological origin, but historical and archeological evidence suggest that there was influence from Korea and China as far back as the 6th century CE. All I know is that they are awesome to listen to. Enjoy! (Note: audio is great, but we weren't able to get very close.)