Taikoz were thrilled to once again be back at the Gondwana National Choirs National Choral School this year. Taikoz members Kerryn Joyce and Ryuji Hamada spent two weeks in early January presenting unique taiko experiences for young musicians.
As many of you know, Kerryn is trained in taiko drumming, shinobue (Japanese bamboo flute), odori (Japanese dance), as well as contemporary percussion practice. Her style is very dynamic and versatile and in 2019, Kerryn explored new taiko music (a world premiere in fact!), movement and singing. She was also able to use her brand new Hang Drum
, an unexpected but very welcome Chrissy Present.
Ryuji is a specialist in yoko-uchi style taiko, or ‘side-on’ drumming, which is a very dynamic way of drumming involving very graceful, but powerful body movements to create the rhythm on the taiko. He worked with the students in this style, to create a wonderful sound world. Both Ryuji and Kerryn taught all the students a unique Japanese song. as well.
All of this teaching and collaboration was featured on Thursday 17 January in the Festival of Summer Voices "Explorations Concert" series at the UNSW Sir Clancy Auditorium.
Please enjoy this reflection from Kerryn at the half-way point of the sessions...
"I have been working for 4 sessions now with students aged 10-14. The atmosphere in these sessions is electric. The response from the children studying Wadaiko is so enthusiastic, and they are genuinely engaged and thirsty for knowledge. I’ve written a world premiere especially for this choral school based on the theme of Summer and Cicadas.
Now into day 4 the students have been singing a song based on a haiku by Matsuo Basho, and I will accompany them on my Christmas present - a Hang drum. The taiko piece is full of movement plus powerful and delicate sounds - cicadas in summer reimagined on taiko.
What was so ‘awesome’ as the kids say is that they go away from the sessions singing the song literally with their backpacks on walking to the next session and individually they come up and say thank you for a fantastic session.
Meeting up with Ryuji afterwards (as his session is exactly the same time) he is totally beaming EVEN MORE than he usually is, and loving how engaged and inspired the kids are.
We are having a great time with this project"
to check out a wonderful video made by the Gondwana students: Taikoz at the National Choral School (Please note you may need to be logged in to Facebook for it to work).
Photos: Gondwana National Choral School media team