Sounds of the real Japan: Taiko Drums
Taiko Drums 太鼓
For some, the plaintive wail of the shakuhachi typifies the sound of Japan. For others it may be the ethereal pluckings of the koto, but for me nothing sounds more like Japan than the thunder of the taiko drums.
Originally the taiko was a war drum. Used for battlefield communication, and, like the African djembe or the bagpipes, they were used to instil a little dread in the hearts of the enemy.
The taiko groups of today, playing for entertainment, are a fairly modern invention, starting after the end of the last war, but in the countryside at least, they are increasingly popular.
Listen to the music of the taiko.
Accompanied by a solo flute that at times delved into free-form jazz, the hypnotic pounding of the taiko reverberates deep in the bones.
Listen to the taiko.
August 1, 2006.