Taiko Doramu (Taiko Drum) is the performance arm of the TUUTS, and can be seen at a wide variety of multicultural events and community festivals around Tasmania. We run a schools visit program, and also hold public drumming workshops, and perform at corporate and private functions.
Our group trains three nights a week, with about 50 members attending training sessions regularly, and many others taking advantage of special workshops and other taiko events.
‘Taiko’ in Japan means ‘drum’. Around the world, taiko is fast becoming synonymous with powerful performance and the tremendous energy it exudes.
‘Drum’, pronounced Dora-Mu in Japanese, was given the kanji reading of ‘tiger dream’, representing the uniquely Tasmanian story of the loss of our local icon, the thylacine. The presence of its spirit still holds a powerful place in our identity and respects the indigenous custodians of this land.
In Taiko Drum, we encourage taiko enthusiasts to experience the thrill of performing as an essential element of their taiko training. Performing enables members to challenge themselves and their nerves in front of an audience, and thus improve and hone their mental and physical skills.
The Tasmania University Union Taiko Society was formed in 2002 to create the opportunity to train, perform and teach the Japanese Art of the Drum. The TUUTS is affiliated with the Tasmania University Union, and is reliant on their financial and administrative support to provide this opportunity to University students, school students, and the general public.
We were greatly supported by the Australia Japan Society and the Japan Club of Hobart when we first launched our Society, and have continued strong ties to help promote this fascinating Japanese cultural tradition
We have evolved dramatically since 2002, and the demand for Taiko keeps growing across the state, with groups starting in Burnie and Launceston. We are always pushing to create new opportunities and get interesting projects off the ground, so watch this space for great things to come.
Or alternatively join us; we would love to see you at our next practice.
WHAT IS TAIKO?
Japanese drumming, known as Taiko, is a visually spectacular art form, which originated in the festivals and rituals of the agricultural society of ancient Japan. Unlike other ‘high-cultural’ art forms such as the Kabuki, Noh Dancing or Tea Ceremony, Taiko culture is community-based, and the most widely practiced ‘popular-cultural’ art form in contemporary Japanese society. It is played as part of local festivals in virtually every district throughout Japan, and local Taiko masters have passed on its techniques orally for many hundreds of years. Most performers at such festivals are non-professional, local residents, and many of them are school children. Taiko plays a strong role in promoting a sense of community, and cultivating teamwork skills among the local residents.
Over the last fifty years, Taiko has become internationally recognised as a form performance art, and many contemporary drumming groups have been formed both in Japan and in many other countries. There are more than 8,000 Taiko groups in Japan, and several of them conduct international tours. There are professionally established Taiko groups in mainland Australia, one of which recently performed in Tasmania, sponsored by the Japanese Consulate-General in Melbourne. Their performance at the City Hall in Hobart played to a full house of 300 delighted spectators.
Simon Vanyai lived in Japan for four years, studying the language, culture and architecture. Simon trained in the way of the drum with Art Lee, a professional Taiko musician and former member of Ondekoza, and Sacramento Taiko-Dan. He also travelled the country in search of the biggest, best, smallest, craziest, loudest, coldest, and generally most intriguing local festivals Japan has to offer, many of which incorporate Taiko drums in the celebrations, and feature rhythms passed on through generations.
A wide variety of members
Some members, including our original President, Hiroko Otsuka, are teachers of Japanese. They are very excited at the chance to introduce Japanese drumming and its merits into their classrooms and schools all over Tasmania. They wish to make a contribution to Tasmanian schools’ cultural education, as reflected in the Society’s objectives.
Many more members are University students of Japanese or Asian Studies who are eager to learn more about Asian Culture through practical experience. Some have lived in Japan and have come into contact with, or played Taiko before and are eager to keep learning. Others are likely to travel and live in Japan in the future, and it is our hope that we can foster an interest in Taiko which they can expand on later in Japan. When they come back to Tassie they will inject new techniques, styles and ideas into Tassie Taiko and help take the society into the future.
Some members are experienced percussionists or martial art practitioners, and others are simply interested in Japanese drumming and its potential to develop in Tasmania.
The constitution of the Society is available here.
Sponsors include: Tasmania University Union, Australia-Japan Society (Tasmania), Mie Australia-NZ Society, Japan Club.