The Ryu Shu Kan, in partnership with the Japan Center at Stony Brook present: “Introduction to Japanese Culture” through the excitement of the Taiko Drums & elegance of Japanese Folk Dance.
Currently, we perform at venues throughout the Metro area and at elementary schools around Long Island as BOCES Arts-in-Education Artists introducing Japanese Culture through performance and workshops. The students at the elementary schools have the opportunity to play the Taiko with us which they say is a highlight of their school year.
Gerard Senese, together with his wife, Hiroko, (who is from Shikoku, Japan) travel to Japan to research the art of Taiko and Folk Dance to expand their group’s repertoire.
THE BEGINNINGS OF TAIKO
The sound of the Taiko has been long associated with various activities in the villages of Japan.
The boundary of a village was the distance the sound of the big Taiko could be heard upon walking away from the center of the village.
Monks would strike the drums to ‘wake up’ the gods so they would hear the people’s prayers for good weather for the growing of their crops or a safe and bountiful fishing expedition.
To give thanks for a good harvest, village festivals were celebrated with the sound of drumming.
These festivals developed a rich body of traditional Taiko rhythms which are now a never ending source of inspiration to modern players.
The Samurai used the Taiko on the battlefield to control troop movement and to scare their enemies; and in their castles to sound the alarm of impending attacks.
Taiko was used in the Imperial Court music as one of the three principle instruments. This music is the oldest continuous orchestral music in the world.
RYU SHU TAIKO
Performances and workshops allow our performers to share the joy of Taiko with their audiences:
- “KOKORO” (heart and mind): playing with all our heart and mindful of the long history of Taiko we strive to present an authentic Taiko experience.
- “KI” (energy and spirit): through Taiko our “Ki” is expressed; and this energy and spirit is shared and received by our audience.
- “BUNKA” (culture): Taiko is used as an educational tool to teach the music, culture and history of Japan to children in schools and in the community; and to imbue a strong appreciation for cultural tradition and the arts.
In our presentation “The Drums of Noto Hanto”, the audience becomes part of the performance enacting the roles of peasants who drum and dance as demons to scare away invading Samurai.
We perform both traditional works and contemporary ones; combining Taiko drumming with Japanese Folk Dance for an exciting presentation that will entertain, enthrall and enrich all that experience the power of the Taiko Drums of Japan!
Beginner’s Classes (by appointment):
Wednesdays @8:30pm & Saturdays @1:00pm
Performance Group Classes: Sundays @10am-12noon
Ryu Shu Taiko is available for performances & workshops throughout Long Island. We offer performances for Libraries, Schools (through the BOCES Arts-in-Education program), Community & Corporate Events.
Our performances range from child-friendly interactive stories such as “The Drums of Noto Hanto” to the explosive sounds of our full Taiko Concert.