by Scott, staff writer of japan-guide.com
This journal is a log of my travels within Japan. Here you'll find my personal opinions on the places I've been and the things I've seen. Also expect to see the occasional review and editorial. Thanks for reading.
2007/09/01 - Zi-Pang Concert
I've been interested in taiko since I was young and we'd watch Sacramento Taiko Dan's kids teams perform, but I never really had the time or opportunity to get involved. However, when I moved to Japan I suddenly found myself with lots of free time and a taiko everywhere, so I joined a local group and have since had some of the best experiences of my life.
Fast forward to today. I've found myself drawn toward the Katsugi Oke Daiko, which is a drum that you carry while you play. About a year ago I went to a workshop on how to play the Katsugi, and the teacher for that workshop was Hayashida Hiroyuki, who is a former member of Kodo and is probably one top Katsugi players in Japan.
Today I went and saw his group Zi-Pang perform for the second time (the first was last year at the Akarenga in Yokohama). The group is a really interesting mix of traditional taiko drummers and jazz musicians in a kind of modern fusion.
My favorite songs were the ones that feature the Katsugi Oke Daiko because the players in Zi-pang really specialize in that drum. This group really does some innovative things, and their choreography and songs are well written and performed. I suggest you check them out if you're looking for something different from traditional taiko, but that still retains the basic essence of the the drumming.