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Concert & Film

FINDING HER BEAT

FILM SCREENING & ARTIST TALK-BACK

with Jennifer Weir (Producer), Megan Chao Smith & Yurika Chiba (Featured Artists)

 

Friday August 16th, 7:00pm

In the midst of a frozen Minnesota winter, a Japanese drum master and Korean adoptee from North Dakota join forces to assemble the world’s best Taiko drummers in a bold effort to claim a cultural spotlight that has historically been reserved only for men.

Their rhythm revolution includes rock stars from the world of Taiko: Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Kaoly Asano, Chieko Kojima, Megan Chao-Smith, and Jennifer Weir. Through grueling rehearsals, Jennifer weaves together their disparate voices and styles. Vulnerability, pain, and joys are shared—and we quickly see the bonds of friendship form as these talented women navigate their way through differences in culture, age, language, and performing styles.

As the clock ticks toward their first performance, it becomes clear that their story has become much larger than Taiko.

Runtime: 88minutes

This film includes Open Captions. The talk-back will include ASL interpretation.

The screening will be followed by an artist talk-back with film producer Jennifer Weir, and featured artists Megan Chao Smith and Yurika Chiba. The talk-back will be moderated by Canadian filmmaker, Min Sook Lee.

TICKETS: $10-$25 Sliding Scale

BANG ON! TAIKO CONCERT

THE OFFICIAL TORONTO TAIKO FESTIVAL CONCERT

FEATURING

RAW Taiko (Toronto)

Ame no Ato (Montreal)

Kyowa Taiko (Toronto)

JGB Shibuki (Buffalo, NY)

Oto-Wa Taiko (Ottawa)

Kings DON Taiko (Kingston)

& guest artists...

Yurika Chiba (San Jose Taiko, CA)

Jennifer Weir and Megan Chao Smith (TaikoArts Midwest, MN)

 

This concert uplifts the diversity of, and nuance within, North American taiko styles and lineages. Bringing these artists together for a one-time showcase, Bang On! presents traditional pieces alongside new collaborations and contemporary repertoire.

In the space between rage and hope, everyone has a distinct role to play in shaping a more just world. Let the drums of Bang On! move you into action!

Saturday August 17th, 8:00pm

Spoken portions of this concert will include ASL interpretation.

CONCERT LINE-UP

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RAW Taiko

RAW Taiko, founded in 1998 as Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers, is a Toronto-based organisation made up of East and Southeast Asian women and gender non-conforming drummers. They carry on the diasporic taiko tradition that grew out of Asian American and Asian Canadian participation in racial and gender justice movements of the 60s and 70. One of the few taiko groups of its kind in the world, RAW Taiko exists as a critical response and challenge to systemic and internalised oppressions. RAW Taiko plays large drums as creative resistance for social change, carving space for self-expression, education and community building.

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Ame No Ato

Ame no Ato is a Montreal-based taiko duo. They strive to present various styles of taiko: building from traditional festival forms such as Miyake, Hachijo, and Yatai Bayashi as well as weaving in modern aesthetics from North American innovations and contributions to the art form. Their group was born from the pandemic, in a time which offered many opportunities for reflection and a chance to see things anew, with fresh eyes and new energy. Their name was inspired by that calm sense of renewal and possibility that follows a heavy rain storm.

 

Playing as a duo is both a challenge and an opportunity to explore and express their approach to taiko. Their approach places a strong emphasis on fundamentals to form a deep foundation that is further supported by the study of the traditions surrounding these fundamentals. Building upon their 31 years of combined taiko experience, learning from masters in Japan and North America, they take on this challenge to further their growth. Ame no Ato continues to develop their voice as a taiko duo and aspire to share and inspire audiences through their energy and playing.

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Kyowa Taiko

An informal taiko group formed at the end of 2017 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC). In the spring of 2018, a naming campaign ran amongst the community to name this informal taiko group, and the result was “JCCC Kyowa Taiko”, where Kyowa means reverberation and harmony of Japanese essence, and they became the official taiko group for the JCCC. The group is made up of volunteers dedicated to cultivating and sharing the performance of “kumi-daiko”, which is a Japanese drum ensemble. They are based at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto where they practice and teach taiko. Much of their repertoire consists of contemporary music written by local Canadian Taiko composers.

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Oto-Wa Taiko

Oto-Wa Taiko is a Japanese drumming ensemble based in Ottawa, performing at public and private events and at schools, and offering general interest workshops and training classes for budding taiko enthusiasts in Canada's National Capital Region. The name consists of two Japanese characters: oto (sound) and wa (harmony). While performing for an audience is almost a weekly activity during the summer months, the prime objective of the group remains to unleash its members' passion for taiko as well as promoting Japanese culture through the art of taiko.

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JGB Shibuki

JGB Shibuki is a spirited taiko drum ensemble from Buffalo, NY. Formed in 2016 by members of the Japanese Group of Buffalo, the group has since developed a loyal following with audiences throughout Western NY. Their name, "Shibuki," meaning "splash," is inspired by the energy of Niagara Falls, symbolizing the individual impact of each member coming together to create a thunderous sound. Shibuki has performed at the Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival, New York State Fair, Music Is Art Festival, Griffis Sculpture Park Summer Festival, Japan Culture Day, and more. The group has also formed alliances with local cultural organizations such as the WNYCCC and Native American Community Services. Their mission is to share the art of taiko with diverse audiences, while promoting their shared values of empowerment, unity and spirit.

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Kings DON Taiko

coming soon

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Megan Chao Smith (Guest Artist)

Megan Chao Smith is Associate Producer and featured artist in the award winning feature documentary, FINDING HER BEAT. They started taiko in Boston, migrating west in search of skills and understanding of a Japanese mentality. They studied with Tiffany Tamaribuchi, assisting in hundreds of workshops, performances, and contests around the world. MCS then spent 12 years in Japan, learning dance and taiko. They gained taiko skills as a member and producer with SHIDARA in the bamboo forests of TOEI-CHO. After moving to Minneapolis and becoming a nurse, they now serve as Artistic Associate Director of TaikoArts Midwest, and run a youth group called The Mighty Drumming Club.

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Yurika Chiba (Guest Artist)

Yurika Chiba was born in Saitama, Japan and grew up in Toronto, Canada.  Yurika joined San Jose Taiko's Artistic Staff in 2007, and now tours internationally and nationally, as well as performing locally at festivals, schools and corporate events. Her responsibilities also include leading rehearsals, trainings and workshops, composing original works, and teaching in SJT’s various adult and youth programs. Yurika is a regular guest instructor/panelist at numerous conferences including North American Taiko Conferences (NATC), Connect, and Women & Taiko. Through the Alliance of California Traditional Arts (ACTA) she completed an apprenticeship with SJT founder, Roy Hirabayashi and is a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI).  Yurika was one of 18 female and non-binary international taiko artists featured in the 2022 documentary, “Finding Her Beat.”  Prior to joining San Jose Taiko, Yurika also played taiko in Tokushima, Melbourne, and Santa Rosa. 

Also a visual artist (aka “TaikoCat”) with a degree in Psychology, Yurika is deeply interested in the applications of taiko/art to holistic and mental health.  Yurika’s background in piano, dance, mixed media art, psychology and certification in TESOL combine in a unique mix to inform her work with taiko as an instrument for the individual’s expression of self and connection to community.

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Jennifer Weir (Guest Artist)

Jennifer Weir (she/her) has been passionately studying, performing, teaching, and composing Taiko for 25+ years. She is the founding Executive Director of TaikoArts Midwest, Artistic Director of Ensō Daiko (formerly Mu Daiko), and a producer of the feature documentary film, Finding Her Beat. Weir is also a theater director and dramaturg with Theater Mu, and is a leadership workshop leader and guest speaker. She identifies as a proud queer Korean adoptee and champion of artists.

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