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Feel the Beat: Taiko Festival Hits UHH June 8-9

May 14, 2013, 7:26 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 7:09 PM
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Some sounds you just can’t ignore.

The 2013 Big Island Taiko Festival is about to rattle the rafters of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Center.

Taiko (太鼓) in Japanese refers to a drum, and the art of taiko drumming finds its roots everywhere from the battlefields of feudal Japan to Buddhist rituals, with performers eventually fusing modern ensemble techniques with both traditional and original rhythms.

Four different Big Island drumming groups will take the stage on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, to showcase a variety of percussion and dance styles.

Taishoji Taiko, representing the Taishoji Soto Mission of Hilo under the direction of Chad Nakagawa, will display an energetic and dramatic style that festival producer Lee Dombroski claims “will have you feeling the rhythm right to your core!”


Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, directed by Milton Yafuso and Troy Sakihara, will showcase a drumming style based on Okinawan martial arts. According to Yafuso, the group pursues taiko performances in order to promote and preserve “the interest in and appreciation for the history” of Okinawan culture.

Taiko drums. Image courtesy Daifuji Taiko.

Taiko drums. Image courtesy Daifuji Taiko.


The Puna Hongwanji Taiko Club, under the direction of Rev. Earl Ikea, Paul Sakamoto and Lani Tak, features drummers of all ages and experience. Kona Daifukuji Taiko, founded by Rev. Ryuji Tamiya of Japan, is comprised of youth from elementary through high school grade levels.

Festival performances are scheduled for June 8 at 7:30 p.m. and June 9 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 general, $5 seniors and UH/UHH students, and $5 for children 17 or under.  To purchase, call 974-7310 or order online.

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