Ever since I saw Michael Palin visit the group Kodo in Japan as part of his Full Circle trip, I have had an interest in Japanaese Taiko Drumming.
Over the years, I have seen several groups in concert, in particlar the UK based Mugenkyo, who I have seen probably once a year for nearly 10 years.
Anyway, at one of their concerts, their leader Neil mentioned that the group run weekend workshops in a training centre in Lanarkshire. I mentoned this back home and I was given permission (!) to sign up.
So in 2010, I actually went on 3 weekends, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! On the third weekend, I was given an e:mail address of a group based in York, so just before Christmas 2010, I went along to one of their practice sessions.
Since then, I have practised with them on a weekly basis, and had some great experiences performing over the last year:
- at the York Railway Museum over Easter 2011, as part of the Japanese fortnight, celebrating the arrival of the Shincasen train at the museum
- at the Black Swan Folk Festival (as pictured)
- busking in York City centre
- taking part in the UK Taiko Festival in Exeter, including performing on stage!
- at a Karate Club annual presentation evening
In order to get to the practice sessions on a Sunday afternoon, myself and the rest of the family have had to make some compromises with respect to orienteering (sticking to events within 1 hour drive of York, taking two cars to events etc) and it's sometimes been a bit of a dash.
But after some 40 years of dedication to orienteering, sometimes to the exclusion of other things, I felt as though I needed to try something new and different - and I'm having such a good time, I certainly don't regret the change of emphasis!