With an on-going commitment to empower people to pursue and advance taiko, TCA rolled out its most generous mini-grant program to date. Over $10,000 is being awarded to six projects that reflect the inspiring diversity of geography, group philosophy, and membership of North American taiko. From honoring group history in Eugene and New York City, to making taiko history in St. Paul, gathering on the West Coast and gathering on the East Coast, the projects are unified by their desire to share taiko not only with audiences but also with each other. As you explore this constellation of projects, take note: starting this February and extending to February 2020, six notable events will be rolled out. If you’re fortunate enough to be nearby, mark your calendar and celebrate with this year’s mini-grant winners!
Eugene Taiko. Eugene Taiko was founded in 1989 as a program of the Japanese American Association (JAA) in Lane County to support the annual Obon and Taiko Festival. Since then, they have been ambassadors for taiko and Japanese culture throughout their community. With their TCA mini-grant they will pursue the production of a 7-10 minute documentary to celebrate the group’s 30th Anniversary in 2019. The video will combine interviews and images to capture the Eugene Taiko story, from their beginnings to now, and will premiere at their 30th Anniversary Concert, slated for the fall of 2019.
Harisen Daiko. A relative newcomer to North American taiko, Harisen Daiko proclaims that they “bring you Minnesota’s geekiest Taiko.” The TCA mini-grant will help them test that claim as they reach out and bring together 5 of the major Minnesota taiko groups in a first-ever gathering. On March 19, 2019, Harisen Daiko, Kogen Taiko from the Twin Cities Buddhist Association, St. Olaf Taiko of St. Olaf College, Ensō Daiko from Taiko Arts Midwest, and Taikollaborative, based in St. Paul, will showcase a variety of styles and influences. By hosting this event the group hopes to “encourage future collaboration and mutual support” in their taiko community, and to help “create a visible and inclusive landscape for taiko in Minnesota.”
Soh Daiko. In 1979, Soh Daiko in New York City, became the first taiko group on the East Coast. This summer they will celebrate their 40th anniversary with a concert to spotlight their signature repertoire and honor the historic community activism of their early members, who countered “the notion of a ‘quiet and subservient’ Asian American with loud, proud drumming.” With the help of a TCA mini-grant, their celebration will include multimedia materials from their archives to capture a rich chapter of taiko’s development on the East Coast and underscore Soh Daiko’s milestone event.
Stanford Taiko. Inspired by a conversation with Russel Baba, early members of Stanford Taiko founded the Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational in 1995. Since then, the annual event has been hosted at their respective campuses by UCI Jodaiko, UCLA Kyodo, UCLA Yukai, UCSD Asayake, CSUN Jishin, UCD Bakuhatsu, UCR Senryu, and attended by groups as far east as St. Louis Osuwa Daiko and as far north as University of Washington Taiko Kai. As host of the 25th ITI, Stanford Taiko will apply their TCA mini-grant to honor and celebrate the pioneers, supporters, and collegiate players who, on May 24-26, 2019, will mark a quarter century of gatherings.
Taiko Arts Midwest. Founded in 2016, Taiko Arts Midwest is the home of Ensō Daiko (formerly Mu Daiko) and Ensemble-Ma. Their TCA mini-grant will be used to support the production of HERbeat, a 2-week artist residency of leading women taiko artists from North America and Japan that will culminate in a collaborative concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts on Feb 29, 2020. Though this first-of-its-kind project event will be based in St. Paul Minnesota, Taiko Arts Midwest hopes to gain further traction for the project by engaging local award winning director, Dawn Mikkelson, to create a full-length documentary film about women in taiko.
Yamatai: Cornell Taiko. The East Coast Taiko Conference (ECTC), launched in 2011 at Cornell University will return to its roots in Ithaca, New York, February 22-24, 2019. Since its start, ECTC has been hosted by collegiate groups and generously welcomed both collegiate and community taiko players to their campuses. This year, a TCA mini-grant will help this year’s host, Yamatai, underscore their conference theme, “Growing Stronger”. Recognizing the geographic space between individual East Coast groups and their collective distance from taiko resources in the West Coast and Japan, the grant will help strengthen the slate of teachers and artists that Yamatai can share with the East Coast taiko community.
Learn more about TCA mini-grants here: TCA Mini-Grant Program.