Sunday
Sep192010

お疲れ様でした

We made it through our most intense performance calendar yet. Starting back on August 14, we have had a performance every weekend until now except for one. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Today was our last performance for two weeks and then we perform twice in one weekend on Oct 1 and 3. 

Today we traveled our furthest distance yet to perform at the Japanese festival in Saginaw at their Japanese Tea House and Gardens. As Larry noted, it was most beautiful place we've played at yet. We had the honor of opening and ending the days events. Being the opening act, we also had one of the largest crowds of the afternoon. It was exhilarating to look out into the audience and see people enjoying themselves. It gave us extra energy to put into our performance.

We also had the privilege of having the Japanese Consul of Detroit in the audience. From the stage I could see that he was enjoying himself and when he talked with us after the performance I discovered why. As it turns out, he is a native of Fukui Prefecture, the neighboring prefecture to Ishikawa, where we lived and where Asano Daiko is located. He told us he felt very nostalgic as we played because he recognized the songs as being from the Ishikawa and Fukui area.

We had a great time performing today in Saginaw and I hope we will be invited back again next year.

Here are a few pictures of the garden...

Friday
Sep032010

Three Weeks of Taiko

Last weekend we began three weekends of consecutive taiko performances. On Sunday, we traveled to Lake Orion (north of Pontiac) to be a part of the Dragon on the Lake Dragon Boat Races Opening Ceremony.  It was a beautiful day for the event, but we were glad to be done with our set by 11:30 because it was already starting to get hot. We only had 10 minutes to play so we did a short set of Raigun, an Odaiko piece and Mushi Okuri. One of the nice things about short sets is you feel like you can give your all and not worry about saving anything for the end of the concert. It is over before you know it. There were many people taking pictures as we played and some have shared them with us. Here are a few:

 

This Monday (September 6, Labor Day) we are excited to be a part of Royal Oak's Arts Beats and Eats festival. We will be performing at 11 AM on Vince and Joe's stage. We are particularly excited about this because we will be debuting a couple new pieces and will also be joined by my brother, Andrew Sole, the drummer of Chicago's popular group, The Detholz!.

We have performance for a private event on Sept 11 and the following weekend, on Sept 19th we will be in Saginaw for a Japanese festival at the Japanese gardens. Details can be found on our taiko performances page.

Finally, we will be starting new taiko classes next week. If you, or anyone you know might be interested, please check out our taiko classes page and get in contact with us at raion.taiko@gmail.com

 

Monday
Jul262010

Upcoming performances and a Visit with Young Entrepreneurs

Last Friday we had the opportunity to visit a group of young Entrepreneurs at Schoolcraft College for their Kids on Campus program. We went there to talk about what it has been like to start up a new business, how we prepared and some of the challenges we faced (continue to face) and then they asked us questions.  Since many people in Michigan are still unfamiliar with taiko, we brought one of our drums and some videos to show them what it is that we do.  Everyone was very impressed with the volume of the taiko drum.  One of the questions we got: "Why is it so loud?" Actually, most of the questions from the kids were more about taiko than about starting a business, but luckily, the instructors kept them on track by asking a few important questions.  We enjoyed the visit and will be visiting another group of young entrepreneurs again this Friday.

In other news, after a somewhat slow month in July, we are now gearing up for what should be a busy August and hopefully a new influx of students for fall classes.  For the second time, we will be bringing along a group of students to perform at an event along with Raion Taiko. This time it is on August 14th in downtown Detroit.  Raion Taiko will be performing a 30 minute set at the Heidelberg Project's Dancin' on the Streets festival and at the end we will be joined by about 10 of our students for a big Mushi Okuri finale! See details for this performance on the performances page.  We are excited to play down in the city for the first time.

Finally, as the Great Lakes Taiko Center approaches the mid-point of our first year, we are making some big plans (with special guests from far away) for the fall and the winter next year.  More information to come as events are confirmed...

Monday
Jul122010

Raion Taiko Now Offering Lawn Care!

Lawn Care? That's right! This past Saturday, we performed at another graduation party. As usual, we ended with Mushi Okuri, which means to send away the bugs. The piece was traditionally played while walking through the rice fields in Kaga in order to make noise and scare away the bugs and other pests.  As I was explaining this to the audience, the father of the graduate said, "I don't care about the bugs, get rid of the moles!"

"Alright," I said, "Today we'll call it Mogura Okuri." (Mogura is Japanese for mole)

Later, as we were packing up our drums into the van, I noticed a rodent crawling out of the lawn and crossing the street. Upon closer examination, it turned out to be... you guessed it, a mole! I guess it worked. We sent at least one of the moles away. So... should you have a mole problem in your yard, just give us a call, we'll play "mogura okuri" for you and get rid of your moles as well!

Independence Day Parade, Plymouth, MI

A week before the mole episode we got up at the crack of dawn to participate in the Good Morning USA Independence Day Parade in Plymouth, MI.  The parade starts at 7:30 AM and is one of the earliest in the US. As difficult as it was to wake up at quarter to 5, I was grateful for the early start because it got pretty hot later on that day. Mayumi and I played Odaiko for about 45 min non-stop and that was hot enough as it was.

There was a lot of positive response from the spectators along the way and a few shouts of encouragement from people we knew. Overall it went very well. The good news about next year: the parade organizer said they will be moving back the start time.

Here are a few pictures from getting ready for the parade:

 

Wednesday
Jun302010

Graduation Party

Last weekend we were invited to perform at the graduation party for the son of a colleague. Our 60 minute program went over well and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves.  We were worried about the weather since they had been forecasting storms all week long, but as it turned out, we had blue skies the whole time.  It also turned out to be our hottest performance yet. The sun beat down on us the whole time.  Playing Miyake in the late afternoon sun is a lot more exhausting than playing it indoors.

More pictures from the performance

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