Taiko is translated in English as “Big Drum,” and they have been used for many centuries in Japan for ceremonies, performances, and communication between towns and on battlefields. “Taiko” as a group performance art, however, is a relatively new phenomenon – the first taiko group, Osuwa Daiko, was formed by Daihachi Oguchi in 1951. Its expansion as a world-renowned art form has been explosive.
Taiko came to the United States in 1968 when Seiichi Tanaka formed the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. Kinnara Taiko was formed shortly after in Los Angeles in 1969, and San Jose Taiko followed in 1973. But then the trajectory skipped out of California and into Colorado. On a trip through Denver in 1976, Tanaka Sensei conducted a taiko workshop here. Inspired by the experience, the founding members of Denver Taiko formed their group that same year – making the fourth Taiko group in the U.S. Today there are hundreds.
In Colorado, there are around five taiko groups, including Simpson Taiko, which is a sub-group of the matsuri (“festival”) style group “Taiko with Toni,” led by North American pioneer Toni Yagami. Under Toni’s guidance, with workshop facilitation by Marc Steuben, Simpson Taiko is proud to carry on the tradition of North American Taiko as a fun, festive, community-oriented celebration. Simpson Taiko is currently accepting new members. Performance at events is encouraged but not required, and there are no requirements for workshop attendance. The annual cost is $65 for members or $100 for non-members. Bachi (sticks) and drums are provided. Taiko is fun, energizing, and good exercise for your body and mind. Come join us and see for yourself!