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Town of Vail hosts Taiko Drumming Performance as part of Global Friendship Exchange program with Nagano Japan

  • 3 October 2018
Town of Vail hosts Taiko Drumming Performance as part of Global Friendship Exchange program with Nagano Japan

The Town of Vail will host a Taiko drumming performance at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8 at Vail Mountain School as part of its continued Global Friendship Exchange cultural programming with Nagano Japan. The community is invited to attend this free, 90-minute Drums of the God performance featuring ancient drumming dating back thousands of years into Japan’s prehistory.

The performance will include internationally-renowned master drummer Makoto Yamamoto who is the grandson of Daihachi Oguchi, the founder of the Osuwa Daiko, a percussion group that created a more contemporary ensemble-style Taiko performance. Mr. Yamamoto will be performing with members from the Taiko Summit Colorado (TSC) group, based in Boulder. In addition, the audience will learn about Taiko history and have a chance to participate with the performers.

Mayor Pro Tem Jenn Bruno says the upcoming performance is an amazing opportunity to experience a cultural exchange program as a result of the town’s friendship relationship with Nagano Prefecture Japan, the home of Makoto Yamamoto. “We’re honored to be hosting an extraordinary celebration of Japanese Taiko,” she said. “We express our appreciation to everyone involved, including Vail Mountain School for the use of their theater and the performers of the Taiko Summit Colorado.”

Julia Misawa is the executive producer/director of Taiko Summit Colorado and founder of the Boulder Taiko, a group that studies the Taiko-based practice and performs in events across Colorado. She has performed throughout the U.S., including San Francisco and Carnegie Hall in New York City. According to Misawa, Taiko Summit Colorado “brings the art and discipline of Taiko to all people, regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation, to promote a stronger, kinder, more compassionate and interconnected community.” 

The Town of Vail, Taiko Summit Colorado and the Vail Mountain School are pleased to offer this wonderful and inspiring performance to the Vail community. Donations for the Taiko Summit Colorado may be made upon entering the theater.  For additional details about the Taiko performance and the global friendship exchange efforts, contact Vail Town Clerk Patty McKenny at 970-479-2136 or

History of Taiko
“Taiko,” in Japanese, simply means “big drum.” The Taiko drums are thought to date as far back as 3,000 years into Japan’s prehistory. In ancient Japan, the beat of the Taiko accompanied petitions to God. Today, the ceremony lives on and the sound of drumming bridges the divide between the human and the divine. The thunder of Taiko is pure.  It cleanses both the senses and the surrounding of those who pray. Taiko celebrated almost all aspects of life from birth to death. Taiko drums roused the troops, intimidated the enemy on battlefields, and were paraded through village streets as an invitation to seasonal festivities. In some Buddhist traditions, the rumbling sound of the Taiko represented the voice of Buddha, and in Shinto Shrines it accompanied prayers to heaven. Taiko intention is to encourage and instill peace on earth. 

Bio - Makoto Yamamoto
Mr. Makoto Yamamoto is the lineage holder and grandson of Grand Master Oguchi Daihachi, founder of Osuwa Daiko, of Suwa Taisha Shrine in Nagano, Japan.  He studied drums from Oguchi Daihachi and Mikio Yamamoto’s teachers, continuing their arts.  He has been practicing and performing from the age of two and a half years of age.  Born and raised while playing domestically and abroad, he also performed for the Japanese movie “heaven and Earth” and NHK historical drama series “Nobunaga.”  For the last 32 years, Makoto Yamamoto has continued the tradition of Taiko performance at Osuwa Taisha Shrine and for the Okubo Festival. He is also involved in the crafting of Taiko drums, as well as teaching in the Tokyo area. He has recently been a guest performer and teacher at the Taiko Summit Colorado and Boulder Taiko Hibiki groups. 

Bio – Daihachi Oguchi, Founder of Osuwa Daiko (1924-2008)
Master Japanese drummer, Daihachi Oguchi is credited with restoring Taiko and inventing a new format of ancient drum performances.  He was the originator of the Taiko ensemble, specifically the Osuwa Daiko format, which used several differently-sized drums. His efforts led the spread of modern Taiko throughout Japan and the U.S.  He was a former jazz drummer who took ancient rhythms and created new arrangements to accommodate an ensemble.  His efforts led to a renaissance of Taiko music which was happening from the 1970s to the 1990s. The Taiko performance at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 gave this kind of performance the international platform it needed to succeed world-wide and become the dramatic and inspirational performance it is today. 


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