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Published on 04.28.2016
Yokohama city, Kanagawa based Dako-on is only one of many performance groups dedicated to taiko drums in Japan, but it is certainly one of the most outstanding Taiko performance groups in the country.
Dako-on is a creative performance group of “wadaiko/taiko,” the Japanese percussion instruments. The Taiko drum itself has existed for long time, with evidence of them being used in Japan as early as 600 C.E., But for a long time, it has played second fiddle to other insturments, until Daihachi Oguchi established what is now called “kumi-daiko” in the1950s. Kumi-Daiko is a sort of orchestral method of taiko music. Daihachi noticed that different-sized taiko drums produce different timbers of sound, and came up with an idea to play entire arrangements with just taiko drums by combining their different timbers. When many taiko drums are played altogether in different timbers, they create an overwhelming and strong harmony, which reverberates through the listener’s ears and body. The performance is also combined with many optical elements. Different-sized taiko drums are placed regularly, and the performers are dressed in stylish and traditional costumes. Their movements are dynamic in rhythm, and some performance groups even combine the performers' voice with the music. This adds some new flair to the music. These days, Kumi-daiko performance has spread all over Japan and even abroad, where young second or third generation Japanese immigrants are looking for some activities where which they can feel their ethnic roots.