We are very proud to present this, our first CD. There aren't words to express our gratitude to our community and our families for enabling us to get here! The works on this CD are all original Portland Taiko compositions; with the exception of Tatsumaki, that whirling-dervish of a song written by our good friend, Hiroshi Tanaka. Our compositions explore the nexus between old and new; fusing traditional Japanese rhythms and melodies with contemporary musical influences.
"Making Waves"; the title of this CD as well as our first three annual home concerts; embodies many ideas at the core of Portland Taiko. The title honors our past. Our ancestors (and some of us!) traveled over many waves in immigrating here, and our music strives to maintain that connection between the tradition of our ancestors and the innovation of life in America. “Making Waves” also expresses our hopes for the future. Through the taiko, we seek to make not only sound waves, but also waves in our communities that will serve as a wake-up call for cultural awareness and justice.
We feel honored to be part of the North American taiko movement and to offer this recording to you. A live taiko performance combines the thunder and rhythm you'll hear on this recording with choreographed movement and high energy; we hope you'll catch one of our live concerts. In the meantime, please enjoy “Making Waves”!
Only lively taiko and antics can coax the Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu, out of her dark cave . . . and celebrate the return of the sun!
Hana Fubuki Flower Blizzard (Ishimaru/Semke)
A high-energy celebration evoking a cascade of flower blossoms in a springtime breeze.
Confluence (Ishimaru with Semke)
Explores contemporary sounds and rhythms in five. If cultures are currents in a river, we create a confluence of cultures to see what we may become.
Pacific Voices (Semke with Ishimaru) featuring Zack Semke on violin
Inspired by the breathy sounds of the shakuhachi flute and based loosely on the melody Lion. Explores the interplay between East and West and their expression together while maintaining the uniqueness of each.
Onkochishin Something New Learned from Ancient Knowledge (Portland Taiko)
Expresses the tensions arising between generations of Asian Americans and their struggle for cultural identity in America. Older and younger generations, represented by contrasting rhythms, ultimately resolve to a single melody and the revelation that through tension emerges a stronger voice.
Duodaiko (Ishimaru/Semke with Enrico) featuring Teresa Enrico on fue
The Odaiko, the largest drum in the ensemble, resounds with the thunderous heartbeat of the earth. Highlights the interplay of the musical voices with improvised solos.
Inspired by the traditions of taiko, hip hop, and R&B, this piece showcases the fusion of East and West through movement and rhythm.
Soonie’s Swing (Choy-Weber )
Opens with the traditional Korean folksong, Arirang, sung around the house by the composer’s mother, Soonie. The melody and rhythms of the song reflect Soonie’s endless energy.
Spring Mourning (Choy-Weber)
Spring, which represents new life and regrowth, also reminds us that all cycles, including life, must come to an end.
Arashi Rainstorm (Choy-Weber/Ebora)
Inspired by the dynamic (and plentiful!) life-giving rainstorms of the Northwest.
Tatsumaki Whirlwind (Hiroshi Tanaka, Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble)
Whirling movements evoke the dynamic energy and sheer power of Nature’s forces.
All compositions (c) (p) 2000 (Portland Taiko-ASCAP) except #12 Tatsumaki (c)(p) 2000 (Hiroshi Tanaka-ASCAP).
About Portland Taiko and Taiko:
Established in 1994, Portland Taiko is an Asian American drumming group dedicated to creating, sharing, and preserving culture through performance. Our sound echoes ancient Japanese tradition and expresses youthful Asian American experience. Taiko, the Japanese word for drum, has roots in Japan that extend as far as 2,000 years back. The taiko was used in religious ceremonies, community festivals, theater, and daily village life. North American taiko was born in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the midst of the civil rights movement and became a powerful symbol of voice during the struggle for redress of the Japanese American internment during World War II. Since that time, North American taiko has exploded in popularity.