TAIKOZ ARTIST KERRYN JOYCE answers some questions about our upcoming work 'Side by Side' and being a part of Taikoz.
1. What are you most looking forward to in Side By Side?
It has been a very long time since we have had a Taikoz-only concert, so I’m really looking forward to playing with my colleagues for our audiences new and old. It’s been an epic year training our bodies and minds, exploring, writing and creating, so I’m looking forward to the live performance – the adrenaline, going with the flow, fully immersing myself into the concert experience with an audience that is ready to feel and hear our music.
2. What inspired you to start and then continue playing taiko?
Like lots of my music experiences, I kind of fell into taiko by chance. I had several connections to Japanese culture through dance and theatre groups particularly Brisbane based group Frank Productions led by Jacqui Carrol and John Nobbs. I was a massive fan of Synergy Percussion where I heard the first sounds of their arrangement of Chichibu Yatai Bayashi, which was part of their repertoire when they toured their programs nationally. From there I met Ian Cleworth and several members of Taikoz, which formed in 1997 and was keen to find out how to play this wonderful music. To be honest my very first playing experience I felt very uncoordinated and really disconnected I thought as a musician I would be good at it but it was hard!
Then when I flew to Sydney from Brisbane to trial several workshops I just loved the sound and feel of the taiko and wanted to learn more. I could also sense this group was creative, energetic, highly skilled and wonderful people. I wanted to move to Sydney to play with Taikoz. Here I am!
3. What are your favourite musical genres outside of taiko and how do they influence your approach to music?
Well, there are several answers here, I LOVE to dance. I love music that stirs every muscle and fibre in my body to move, be it Afro Cuban, Latin American, Irish folk, Bulgarian – I just love to hear a selection of music and just dance away. Then I love music that just makes me sit and reflect and listen, like early music or artists writing new music, alternate rock… Oh, this is a hard question!
4. What is your favourite style of taiko or instrument and why?
Mmmm again… when I have the opportunity to play, then I’m happy to play any instrument. But I am enjoying playing taiko set in my new piece called Run! The set is a collection of taiko and one of my favourites in the lineup is the shimedaiko. I love the response from this high-pitched taiko and the many colours you can explore on it. Oh, this is another tough question!
5. How do you manage stress?
Ahhhhh don’t ask me this! Ha! I think I try to really focus on my breathing and try to manage what it is that is creating the stress. If stress is related to an upcoming concert, then the key for me is preparing well, making sure I am really exploring the music, the score, what the ensemble members are playing, so that I can communicate with them through the music. If I am across this, then I can reduce the stress of the unknown and relax into playing the music and have fun!