San Jose Taiko returned to the lower school campus on Wednesday, treating students to a pair of entertaining and educational assemblies about this Japanese rhythmic art form that dates back to the sixth century. As its popularity grew in the 20th century, taiko artists began to incorporate styles such as jazz into their performances. San Jose Taiko was founded in 1973 and has since established itself as one of the world’s top taiko ensembles.
The visiting musicians performed selections from their repertoire and gave students a primer on taiko performance techniques and concepts, such as the use of shouts known as “ki-ai,” an expression of spiritual energy, or “ki.” These shouts often function as cues to other ensemble members of which beats to play. Students (as well as a few teachers) were later given the chance to perform on the drums, delighting their peers and faculty in attendance.