Can you feel the rhythm? Internationally renowned Japanese drumming sensations Uzume Taiko can definitely help you out! Get excited for West Coast Canada’s premiere professional taiko drumming group!

The Japanese Canadian Association of Yukon (JCAY) and Yukon Arts Centre present Uzume Taiko, a drumming group which started its roots in 1988 as Canada’s first professional taiko group. Combining both old and new styles of drumming, Uzume Taiko preforms not only with music but with talent, expression, enthusiasm, and a true enjoyment for what they do. Their enchanting performances contain choreographed movements that feel like a martial arts dance with thunderous drum rhythms. Artistic director Bonnie Soon describes taiko as a “body, mind, soul, spirit experience.” Uzume Taiko is known for their colourful costumes and energetic exhibition as they jump, dance, shout, swap positions, and throw in as many pieces of comedy as they can. This theatrical hybrid will have you leaving the performance with the urge to groove.

Uzume Taiko use an array of instruments and drums. Their name comes from the Japanese word taiko meaning “big drum,” and Uzume which comes from from the goddess of laughter (Ame No Uzume No Mikoto - the Heavenly Alarming Female), who as legend has it, first began taiko drumming. Uzume Taiko’s performance is inspired by the festival drumming of Japan, and as Bonnie Soon explains, “our mandate is to create new music for the drum; so we create new Canadian compositions for the taiko drum.”

Whitehorse hasn’t seen Uzume Taiko since 2005, and we are excited to announce that they will be offering a number of events while they’re here, including school shows, workshops, and even an outdoor performance at Shipyards Park.

Uzume Taiko is one of the most experimental taiko groups, exploring fusion with musical forms of other heritages. The group also provides cultural education by enlightening audiences on the history of the practice and several Japanese traditional cultural elements (including Japanese mythological masks!).

“Sharing our West Coast Canadian expression for the taiko drum and communicating the power of the human spirit is what Uzume Taiko Ensemble musicians do well.” Bonnie Soon, Artistic Director

Here’s what Uzume Taiko is up to in Whitehorse:
Thursday, June 11: Outdoor Performance at Shipyards Park at 3:15pm
Friday, June 12: Concert at Yukon Arts Centre at 8:00pm
Saturday, June 13: Taiko Drumming Basics Workshops at The Old Fire Hall at 10:30am and 2:00pm

We hope to see you there!

Header photo by Keith Robertson