Season 3, Concert 1

Yamabiko Taiko

Minds and Music - Yamabiko Taiko
From left to right: Jerry Takeda, Philip Reed, Lindsay Favell, Brad Diduck, Miki Kostiuk, Asuka Tsujimura, Vanessa Falk, Lyndsay Coletti, Micah Wilhelm

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Campus Courtyard

Taiko is the Japanese word for large drum. Yamabiko translates from Japanese as 'mountain echo,' reflecting the group's Okanagan home. Together they form one of the Okanagan's most exciting and powerful drumming groups.

Eri Uchida, an exchange student from Ichinomia, Japan and member of Ponpoko Taiko, originally formed Yamabiko Taiko. Throughout her time with the group, her skill and energy inspired each member to always improve. Eri has since returned to Japan to become an apprentice member of the renowned taiko group, Kodó. Yamabiko continues to play for self-fulfillment with that same energy to bring awareness of the spirit and beauty of taiko to the Okanagan Valley.

This group of drummers has performed throughout British Columbia for the past four years, including as the opening act for three sold out performances of the Peking Acrobats in the Vernon Winter Carnival. Yamabiko has recently been recognized for their cultural contribution from the National Association of Japanese Canadian Endowment Fund.


ODAIKO HAJIME 大太鼓初め~ Composed by Yamabiko (4:00)
The Odaiko is the largest drum of any taiko ensemble. Through its’ deep tone and thunderous volume, a player’s energy can resonate through the body of every audience member. It is the most physically demanding of all taiko to play, but is equally as rewarding.

TONBANE 飛跳 ~ Composed by Osuwa Daiko (3:30)
This song was originally created and played by Grand-Master Daihachi Oguchi and Osuwa Daiko. Artistic Director, Art Lee, of Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara taught it to Yamabiko with energetic choreography, hence the title, which stems from the Japanese verb tobu (to fly or jump).

OGI MATSURI 小木祭 ~ Composed by Yamabiko (3:50)
Every summer the normally sleepy town of Ogi on Sado Island plays host to a three-day matsuri (festival). This festival, started by the group Kodó of Sado Island was meant to revive community ties. Yamabiko fused several songs to yield a similar expression of community.

KASA BAYASHI カサ囃子 ~ Composed by Kodó (3:00)
Kodo’s principal dancer Chieko Kojima and former Kodó member and artistic director of Kodo’s international Earth Celebration festival, Kaoru Watanabe, wrote this festive dance, taiko, and fue piece. It was created for their 2007 workshop tour with Kodo Arts Sphere America (KASA) and is offered to the North American taiko community as public domain.

HANA MATSURI 花祭り ~ Traditional (4:00)
This song originated in Shidara, Japan approximately 850 years ago as a celebration of the Buddha's birthday. It is performed for good health, for gratitude to nature, and harmony between the spiritual and human world. This dynamic piece is accompanied by shinobue (flute) and fan dancing.

MIYAKE 三宅 ~ Traditional (3:00)
The island of Miyake is off the coast south of Tokyo. This song paints a picture of its' outstretched land being caressed by the ocean waters. As the beat progresses these waters pull away from the island. They begin to move rapidly and gain strength as the wind and the ocean floor pushes the waters upward until reaching the mainland with full force.

SÓRAN BUSHI ソーラン節 ~ Traditional (3:02)
Herring fishing brought thousands of migrant workers to Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, each spring until early this century. Songs accompanied each stage of fishing, such as rowing and net hauling. This song was sung while transferring the herring from large drift nets into small taxi-boats with giant hand-nets. The abundant lyrics are often improvised, however a standard chorus developed over the course of time. It soon made its' way into folk dance portraying the actions of the fishermen.

NIPPON ONDO 日本音頭 ~ Traditional (4:15)
This is a traditional odori (dance) done during the summer Obon festivals.

TOKYO ONDO 東京音頭 ~ Traditional (4:19)
This is a traditional odori (dance) done during the summer Obon festivals.

TANKO BUSHI 炭坑節 ~ Traditional (3:21)
This is a very old song and Odori (traditional dance) from Fukuoka prefecture. It is played all over the world during the Obon festival in the summer. The steps are simple representations of coal miners working. Everyone is welcome to JOIN IN the dance around the taiko!

SÓRAN BUSHI ソーラン節 ~ Composed by Nanchu (3:40)
This dance has since gained in popularity all over the world thanks to this modified, contemporary version. The students and faculty of Nanchu South Junior High School in Wakkanai City, Hokkaido, choreographed it together.

TAIKO BAYASHI 太鼓囃子 ~ Traditional (4:00)
This is one of Yamabiko's core songs, originally imported by our founder Eri Uchida. She brought the cheerful spirit of this festival song from her home group Ponpoko in Aichinomia, Japan. The bachi (drum sticks) movements symbolize piercing the clouds to induce rain in times of drought.

ISAMI GOMA 勇馬 ~ Traditional (3:40)
The title translates to "Courageous Warhorse." The song's jiuchi (back beat) resembles the gallop of a horse being lead into battle by a samurai.

BUCHIAWASE ぶちあわせ ~ Traditional (4:58)
South of Tokyo on the Miura Peninsula, this song is played after a successful round of fishing. Villagers from Minsaki Mountain play in contest with others on a small, nearby island. This song is also known as “Kenka Daiko” (fighting drums). The losers have their drums tossed into the ocean, and the winners receive a bountiful fishing season.

Last reviewed shim7/30/2014 4:43:45 PM

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Photo Gallery

Photos from this exciting group can be viewed here


Dr. Manuela Ungureanu
Associate Professor of Philosophy
UBC Okanagan
Tel: 250.807.9375