What do you get when you hand an actor a pair of bachi? Well, when that actor is Jennifer Weir, you apparently get a growing taiko community in the Twin Cities, a nonprofit by the name of TaikoArts Midwest, and the revolutionary HERbeat.
When did you first find taiko? Is this the same time that you started playing taiko?
Yes, I first saw taiko when I was a young actor with Theater Mu, an Asian American theater company based in the Twin Cities. Rick Shiomi gave a short demonstration by playing Matsuri on a single chu drum at an event. It was the first time I’d seen it, and I was instantly hooked. Several of us actors begged him to give us a workshop. He relented, thinking that we would see how hard it was and then go away, but it organically grew into a huge part of my life and family – and Mu Daiko, now Enso Daiko was formed.
What has your taiko journey looked like?
My journey is again, largely due to Rick Shiomi, my colleague Iris Shiraishi, and all the amazing and patient teachers that have worked with us over the years. My artistic home has always been with Mu Daiko/Enso Daiko. I’ve joined a few performances of Tiffany’s JODAIKO ensemble, which was a blast. I’ve done a few smaller projects with taiko and theater or dance. The largest taiko milestones for me were: (1) Founding TaikoArts Midwest after spinning off from Theater Mu, and (2) producing and directing the HERbeat concert.
Why did you become a member of TCA?
To support the larger taiko community and to be engaged in larger conversations.
What is your favorite post-practice meal?
We usually practice in the evening, so it is a real struggle for me not to eat a 4th meal when I get home. 🙂
Do you have other passions and/or hobbies outside of taiko?
Yes, I’m very passionate about theater, and elevating Asian American voices and artists. I’m enjoying learning the banjo as a complete beginner with absolutely no performance ambitions.
Last, but certainly not least: How many taiko tees do you own?
My guess is around 20-30.
Shime or Odaiko?
Run for Exercise or Literally Anything Else?
I’m the laziest taiko player I know.
Phone Call or Text Message?
Phone call (I’m old school)
What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?
Coffee, Tea, or Red Bull (or, you know, another energy drink, I guess)
Iced decaf vanilla latte
Perform in incredibly cold weather or incredibly humid weather?
COLD any day. I’m from MN.
Record your practice and study the footage or fly free on the feeling?
Do you know a TCA member who you would like to see spotlighted? Send an email to Sarah Gilbert at email@example.com to nominate the TCA members in your life for our next spotlight!