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Updated Aug. 10, 2014

We'll be launching this season with many bangs. School programs, taiko classes, our beloved Tucson Meet Yourself gig, and a host of special workshops attached to our participation with the 25th All Souls Procession. Odaiko Sonora is this year's Finale musical artist. We've developed chant, lantern-making and dance workshops in hopes our friends in the community will join us in commemorating our loved ones who have passed and celebrate our lives together.

The first event is a Japanese Vocal and Chant Workshop with Aki Takahashi on Sat. Sept. 6! We've commissioned a chant in the traditional minyo (Japanese folk) style from Aki, who will be one of our Finale guest artists. The chant workshop is open to all community members who wish to add voice to this year's ASP Finale.

After that, there's several dates for lantern-making and obon dance workshops to help you prepare to join us in the Procession on Nov. 9!

Look for taiko at Dietz K-8, Maxwell K-8 and Gale Elementary in the coming months. And mark October 11 for our annual appearance at Tucson Meet Yourself!

Aki Takahashi


Updated May 29, 2014

What a fabulous start to 2014: great school programs at Gale and Robison Elementaries, Vail Middle and Maxwell K-8; inspiring residencies by visiting artists Kay Fukumoto, Aki Takahashi and Kyle Abbott; fabulous time spent with Fushicho Daiko and the whole Phoenix taiko community; culminating in an outrageously joyful performance at AZ Matsuri!

How can we follow that up? Well, here's how:

As players, we'll be hunkering down to brush up on basic skills (which get a little sloppy during gig season).

As teachers, we're preparing school kids and our Youth Taiko Group for end-of-year performances. For others, we're launching a series of three practicums and introduction classes.

As Tucsonans, we're scheduling appearances to support our community: public performances and hands-on opportunities to become better acquainted with the fun and benefits of listening to and playing taiko.


30th Annual AZ Matsuri. Still smiling, Odaiko Sonora
members rose to the challengeof one of our most
physically and
musically challenging sets ever.


Updated Feb 10, 2014

We were thrilled to launch 2014 at Tucson's first Mochitsuki, or traditional New Year's rice-pounding event. The event took play Jan. 4 at the beautiful Yume Japanese Gardens on Alvernon.

And 2014 promises to be a great one! We've got multiple guest artists coming to teach us their new skils and songs, and some big public performances you won't want to miss! On Feb. 2 & 3, Kay Fukumoto of Maui Taiko will share their rendition of Fukushima Ondo with us. This is the folk song/dance featured in the excellent video Great Grandfather's Drum.

The next week, we'll welcome shamisen masters Aki Takahashi and Kyle Abbott to Tucson. Their visit will include lessons, workshops, busking, guest gig spots and two Valentine's Day sets at Sushi Yukari. All of this builds to the culminating concert at Yume Japanese Gardens on Sat., Feb 15.

It's also AZ Matsuri season! We're gearing up for an amazing set in Heritage Park, Phoenix on Feb. 22, so stay tuned for details.

Odaiko Sonora and Rebecca's kimono
pals Britt and Devo from Phoenix. Read
Rebecca's blog: www.redhotkimono.com

Odaiko Sonora at Yume Gardens


Updated, Oct 10, 2013

We're wrapping up the year in many ways. We just did our annual taiko marathon along the route of the Tucson Marathon. And our several school programs are ending with many bangs as kids how off new drumming and teamwork skills at end-of-year concerts and assemblies.

This is also the season for building new drums, and Karen will have 8 new taiko done in time for the spring semester at Maxwell Middle School.

Join our performing ensemble Dec. 31 at the Rhythm Industry New Years Ball, or attend a much quieter event the next morning at the Johrei Fellowship.

There's nothing like the deep sound of the drums to ring out and ring in 2014!

new taiko are on their way!Bouncing baby taiko ready
to connect our community

Updated Oct. 9, 2013

Join us for our last Obon Dance Workshop and Paper Crane Folding Happy Hour this Saturday, Oct. 26. Both are FREE! The dance workshop runs from 12:30—1:30pm at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, 1013 S. Tyndall, and the Paper Crane Folding Happy Hour fruns 5—7pm at Tap & Bottle.

Obon is the Japanese Buddhist ancestor festival that Odaiko Sonora brings to the All Souls Procession each year. You can learn the dance and then join us on Nov. 3 at the front of the Procession, just behind the big drum. This year, we'll be joined by Sacramento Taiko Dan leader Tiffany Tamaribuchi!

image of group performing at The Rogue Taiko concert on October 5

Odaiko Sonora Performing Ensemble and
Community Group members put on quite
a show last Saturday at The Rogue.


Updated Oct. 8, 2013

This weekend, the fabulous Tucson Meet Yourself festival will animate downtown Tucson! And once againm Odaiko Sonora will be one the City Hall Stage on Saturday evening. Please join us at 5pm in El Presidio Park as we help celebrate Tucson's cultural landscape.

Soon after that, we'll be launching our annual All Souls Procession activities, including obon dance workshops and paper crane folding happy hours. Obon is the Japanese Buddhist ancestor festival that Odaiko Sonora brings to the Procession each year. You can learn the dance and then join us on Nov. 3 at the front of the Procession, just behind the big drum. This year, we'll be joined by Sacramento Taiko Dan leader Tiffany Tamaribuchi!

image of group performing at The Rogue Taiko concert on October 5

Odaiko Sonora Performing Ensemble and
Community Group members put on quite
a show last Saturday at The Rogue!


Updated Sept. 20, 2013

Our Oct. 5 Rogue Taiko concert is almots here! The new fun is that songs in the concert can be sponsored! Choose from fine art of play, after-hours drinking, beach games, monsoons and more as song subjects you can put your name to available for your sponsorship are:

Kaitoryu
A temple piece (kagura) from the Nagoya Aichi prefecture area. 3 seated players, 6 drums, austere and invocational.

Mo-Ikkai 
meaning “one more time,” will feature rthe Odaiko Sonora Youth Group!

Korekara
meaning "from here on," 4th generation (mostly) Japanese-American taiko players wrote in the spirit of sharing and moving North American taiko forward together.

Hachijo
This piece is in the style of Hachijo Island, rare in that women play taiko. The movements are also said to be reminiscent of sword practice by exiled samurai.

Fue Trio 
Our special guests Paul Amiel and Tomomi Katz join Rome on the yokobue, or bamboo flute.

image of Concert flyer

Excel
In the 1990s, the only resource for North American taiko players was a website called Rolling Thunder. Repertoire was scarce. Mr. Suzuki posted Excel and Taiko de Beat (below) as gifts to the burgeoning taiko community.

Izakaya Groove     
An isakaya is a type of casual Japanese drinking establishment, for after hours imbibing. The name is a compound word consisting of i (to stay) and sakaya (sake shop).

Asobi
Asobi means “play” or “playing.” Mu Daiko gave us this song when they were the featured guest group at our 2006 Southern AZ Taiko Showcase. It's quirky and fun.

Taiko De Beat/Expanding
The 2nd of Suzuki-san's online gifts, this Odaiko Sonora favorite has been reworked for more players, more drums, more funk... so much we fall right into a Taiko Project groove-a-thon.

Kachidoki
One of a suite of five songs composed for the city of Matsuyama to commemorate a historic naval victory. This one means "victory" and is surprisingly funky.

Takeda no Komoriuta/odaiko solo/Nintai     
A sword form, a folk song, and the odaiko challenge!

Yuudachi    
The smell, the wind, the torrential rain gallops in!

Stepping Stones
We learned this on their adventure to Exeter in 2012 for the UK Taiko Festival. It keeps us hopping!

The Rogue Theatre Tickets are $20. You can buy online at www.theroguetheatre.org or call 520-551-2053. Student rush $15 tickets MAY be available at the door 15-20 minutes prior to each performance.

If you miss out on Rogue Theatre tickets, you can still catch the Sept. 28 Preview at our own studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. That's Saturday, Sept. 28, 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Lastly, mark your calendars: Sat., Oct. 12, 5:00pm for our Tucson Meet Yourself performance. Aad, starting Oct. 19, our annual All Souls Procession obon workshops and Paper-Crane-Folding Happy Hours!


Updated Sept. 5, 2013

School days are here! Odaiko Sonora leaders are currently teaching K-8 students at Steele and Sewell Elementary, and Vail Middle Schools through TUSD's Opening Minds Through the Arts Program. We're also at Prince Elementary and Amphi Middle with support of our most excellent state arts support organization, the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Meanwhile, the big big news is we're having our first concert since 2009!

Save Sat.. Sept. 28, 7:30pm for our Rhythm Industry Preview, and/or Sat., Oct. 5, 2pm & 7:30pm for the full-length concerts at The Rogue Theatre!

Preview Tickets are $12 at the door.

The Rogue Theatre Tickets are $20. Student rush $15 tickets MAY be available 15-20 minutes prior to each performance. You can buy online at www.theroguetheatre.org or call 520-551-2053.

Also, mark your calendars for our Sat., Oct. 12 Tucson Meet Yourself performance and, starting Oct. 19, our annual All Souls Procession obon workshops and Paper-Crane-Folding Happy Hours!

image of Concert flyer

Updated May 12, 2013

Summer is a quiet time in Tucson, but Odaiko Sonorans will be busy with drum building, summer camps, travel and training.

By the end of the May, we'll wrap up school residency work and head into summer camp season. Look for us June 3–14 at Tucson Circus Arts and the week of at Fenster Ranch Camp.

image of Odaiko Sonora at 2013 PCC Japanese Speech Contest

Part music, part martial art, part team sport, taiko is a great activity for people of all ages. Maybe taiko is the mind-body-spirit practice you've been looking for! Check it out in our next All Ages Recreational Taiko session, beginning August 17th. Call or email for more information: 520 481-8003 or karen@tucsontaiko.org


May 5, 2013

Spring is in full swing and so is Odaiko Sonora! This past weekend we did a whopping 7 gigs for ages 4 to 94. starting with preschoolers at St. Mark's to the Sunday matinee of Rogue Theatre's production of Shakespeare's Richard III. There's only one weekend left to see the latter, so don't miss this chance to experience taiko-fueled Shakespeare!

Soon, we'll be wrapping up our school residency work — including our first year as official OMA Teaching Artists — and heading into summer camp season. Look for us June 3–14 at Tucson Circus Arts and the week of at Fenster Ranch Camp.

Part music, part martial art, part team sport, taiko is a great activity for people of all ages. Maybe taiko is the mind-body-spirit practice you've been looking for! Check it out in our next 6-week All Ages Recreational Taiko session, beginning June 15. Call or email for more information: 520 481-8003 or karen@tucsontaiko.org

 

 

Odaiko Sonora provides the musical
backdrop for one of Shakespeare's
most fascinating villians in Rogue
Theatre's production of Richard III
.
Playing through May 12. For tickets:
call 520 551-2053, or at Rogue's website.

poster for Rogue Theatre's production of Shakepeare's Richard the Third


For information on any of our programs, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.

 

 

December 6, 2012

Spring is coming — things blooming and returning — Odaiko Sonorans are diligently preparing programs and performances for you!

Check out the wide variety of things we're up to on the list below.

What's more, you might want to think about how taiko can be a bigger part of your life. Our Community Group is comprised of players from ages 15 to 72, from recreational players to those who have chosen taiko as a life's path and profession.

Maybe taiko is a lifelong companion you've been looking for. On March 9, you can try it for yourself in our next beginners session. Call or email for more information: 520 481-8003 or karen@tucsontaiko.org

2012 Tucson Meet Yourself performance Odaiko Sonora jazzed crowds at this year's Tucson
Meet Yourself with a record-breaking 30 players!


For information on any of our programs, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.


December 6, 2012

Interesting collaborations abound this fall. When Stories that Soar Director Sharon O'Brian realized that blind students were tracking actors' movements around the stage by following the sounds of their voices, she had the idea to connect a taiko drum with a character in one of this year's stories. Rome took on that project while Karen and Nicole took a collaboration with the UA School of Music's World Music Gang.

Meanwhile, as teaching artists in TUSD's Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) program and through residencies supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, we're busy with many Tucson area schools. Kids love taiko, and taiko is great for supporting the academics and development of all kinds of kids.

The OMA programs will also incorporate our 10th anniversary publishing project, the Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village. To get your own copy of the book contact us or order online

Stories that Soar uses taiko to track an actor's movement on stage
Rome helps Stories that Soar
define characters through sound
in their November show at the
AZ School for the Deaf and Blind.



Updated September 19, 2012

For ten years, Odaiko Sonora has been bringing taiko to southern Arizona. We hope you'll join us this fall as we celebrate with our 10th appearance at Tucson Meet Yourself, our annual work with Tucson's very unique All Souls Procession, and numerous other activities.

Meanwhile, as new teaching artists in TUSD's Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) program and through residencies supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, we're busy with many Tucson area schools. Kids love taiko, and taiko is great for supporting the academics and development of all kinds of kids.

The OMA programs will also incorporate our 10th anniversary publishing project, the Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village. To get your own copy of the book contact us or order online


Kids at Sewell Elementary groove
with the big drums through OMA.



Updated August 20, 2012

We hit the ground running (as usual) upon our return from Exeter. Our first program as official TUSD Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) Teaching Artists began at Sewell Elementary School on Aug. 13. Other OMA schools we'll be working with this fall include Vail Middle, Cragin Elementary, and, through funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Blenman Elementary and Prince Elementary/Amphi Middle schools.

 

Karen's been building a set of drums specifically for residency programs.
These little (15" diameter) taiko will be easy to move from school to school,
and adapt to 2nd to 12th grade student sizes. If you're interested in
supporting taiko in school, contact her at karen@tucsontaiko.org.

ten little drums for school kids

The OMA programs will also incorporate our 10th anniversary publishing project, the Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village. To get your own copy of the book contact us or order online.

We'd like to send thanks to Target for support of our school outreach concert series again this year. Their $2,000 makes it possible for us to visit schools and students that might not otherwise be able to access taiko programs.

For information on these topics, classes and more, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.


Updated June 19, 2012

After a VERY busy winter and spring, Odaiko Sonora has relaxed into the heat. All of our FY2011-12 jobs are done, and we are packing for Exeter (see below).

Although we did not receive the Arts Education LUMIE we were nominated for, we're thrilled that our friends at the UA Poetry Center did! We're thrilled that one of the nation's most unique and excellent literary organizations has been recognized.

On another note, Odaiko Sonora has joined the ranks of TUSD's Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) Teaching Artists.

boy at Ash Creek School

Regarding Exeter: The Odaiko Sonora Performing Ensemble is attending and performing at the 8th Annual UK Taiko Festival in Exeter, England. We thank the Arizona Commission on the Arts which assisted with travel costs, and we send a huge thanks to Kagemusha Taiko for hosting this great meeting of international taiko players.

We've run out of copies of Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village. However, a re-print will be available very soon. If you are interested in having a copy, please contact us or order online.

For information on these topics, classes and more, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.


Updated March 12, 2012

Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village celebrates Odaiko Sonora's 10th Anniversary and is a remembrance of last year's Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

We've taken the folktale we wrote for our school residencies and made it into a children's book. Beautifully illustrated by Nadia Hagen, with QR codes for downloadable taiko songs featured in the tale, the book tells the story of a young hero and her little dog Shiro, who save their village from a tidal wave.

Most of the books will be given free to students in our current Prince/Amphi Residency and to other school and p

You can buy your own copy online on our Asako page, where you'll also find links to songs in the story.

Starting later this week, you can get the book at Antigone Books ( 411 N. 4th Ave), the Johrei Fellowship (3919 E. River Rd), or at Sushi Yukari (5655 E River Rd # 151).

For information on the the book, classes and more, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.

Ilustration from Asako, The Girl Who Saved Her VIllage

Asako, The Girl Who Saved Her VIllage features
beautiful illustrations by Nadia Hagen.


Updated Feb. 13, 2012

Our 10th Anniversary will be celebrated with the release of an original book! We've spruced up the Japanese folktale used to showcase songs by residency students in past years, and will release it as a children's book at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 10 & 11. We'll perform Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village with Prince Elementary/Amphi Middle School students and our own Odaiko Sonora Youth Taiko Group on Saturday, March 10!

The book, illustrated by Nadia Hagen, Artistic Director of Flam Chen and the All Souls Procession, will include QR codes for downloadable taiko songs featured in the tale.

For information on the the book, classes and more, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.

Odaiko Sonora performed at the Feb. 11 2nd Saturday Arizona Centennial

The Odaiko Sonora Community Group did a power set
at the AZ Centennial 2nd Saturday celebration Feb. 11.


Jan. 19, 2012

After the usual holiday lull, we're rapidly getting back up to speed with our programs. See below for a growing list of public appearances, school programs and classes.

We're especially thrilled to be playing at this year's Arizona Matsuri: A Festival of Japan. The Phoenix event happens Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25 and 26. We'll be playing a 45 min. to hour-long set on Saturday, and three of us will be participating both days at the noontime gathering of the All Arizona Taiko Team!

For information on classes and more, email info@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 481-8003.

 

Karen drumming at sunrise for Beyond Tucson's Jan. 7 event at TMC

Karen provided the mother drum for a sunrise ritual a the
labyrinth in front of TMC's Peppi's House. The Jan. 7
event for Beyond Tucson commemorated and offered
healing for last year's shooting tragedy.


Dec. 15, 2012

2011 is nearly gone and we're still drumming! This fall marked our 10th year playing Tucson Meet Yourself, our 9th playing the Tucson Marathon, and our 7th participating in the All Souls Procession. We also celebrated the 5th anniversary of purchasing our own studio — now the thriving performing arts collective Rhythm Industry Performance Factory.

It's the perfect time of year to give thanks to the people who've made it possible: our teachers, our players, our students, our community partners, fellow artists and the thousands of audience members who've listened and given us their appreciation. Thank you for following us!

There's still time to give your tax dollars directly to the school of your choice through the AZ School Tax Credit. If you're not sure which school you want to benefit, give us a shout and we'll suggest one of our partners. It costs you nothing, and could change a kid's life for the better. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org

Odaiko Sonora at the Tucson Marathon

For the ninth year, Odaiko Sonorans rose at dawn,
gathered near Oracle and drummed for hours to
support Tucson Marathon runners in the last mile.


Nov. 26, 2011

Everyone's asking where October went, and will soon ask the same about November. It's been a jam-packed fall! We're coasting into the holidays with just a few appearances let in 2011.

Most notably, on Sunday, Dec. 11, we'll so our annual taiko marathon for the Tucson Marathon. We're stationed behind Basha's, 15310 N. Oracle. We drum from dawn to noon, so come by and say hello, try your hand at taiko, and help support the runners.

If you haven't decided who to give your AZ School Tax Credit to, give us a shout and we'll show you how easy it is to support taiko in the schools. It costs you nothing, and could change a kid's life for the better. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org

All Souls Procession

We had a crane-bedecked drum cart
and record number of obon dancers
as part of the All Souls Procession.


Updated Sept. 26, 2011

Nicole considers her friendship with the odaiko before the Green Valley concert

The season is off to a great start! Odaiko Sonora offered a full-length fully theatrical show to the enthusiastic crowd of old and new fans in Green Valley on Thursday; tore it up Saturday at The Scene of a Decision, and evening of improv at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory; and tomorrow, we start our first ACA supported residency at Townsend Middle School.

Look for multiple appearances by Odaiko Sonora at this year's Tucson Meet Yourself and All Souls Procession Weekend. And come join Karen at Crane-folding Happy Hour on Saturdays Oct. 8, Oct. 22, Oct. 29, 5:30–6:30pm at Skybar on 4th Ave.

 

Left: Nicole contemplates her relationship with the
odaiko before the Green Valley concert on Sept. 22.
below: Two scenes of many decsions at and evening
of improv, The Scene of a Decision, at the Rhythm
Industry Performance Factory Review Sept. 24.

Nicole & Karen rip it up at the Sept. 24 Review Rome improvs on the fue at the Sept. 24 Review

Updated Sept. 7, 2011

We're sending another huge "Thank You!" to the Ralph L. Smith Foundation for their support of our kids programs. Corporate support helps ensure we can keep offering school and community programs for little or no cost to the public.

Individuals make a difference, too! More, in fact! Become a Friend of Odaiko Sonora for as little as $10 a month, and/or dedicate your AZ tax credit to one of our six partner schools, and you'll help bring taiko — its discipline, athleticism and joy — to thousands of kids. It's easy and costs little or nothing. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org to find out more.

 

Join Movement Salon, Batucaxé, Odaiko Sonora in
our home, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory on
Sept. 24 for an thrilling evening of planned surprises.
Your donsation directly supports AZ's only artist-owned
incubaotor for loud, large performing arts.

Rhythm Industry Review image


Updated Aug 14, 2011

We're sending a huge "Thank You!" to Toyota and Target for awarding grants to support our school programs!

This year, we'll be doing extended residencies for at least 6 schools! That means bringing taiko — its discipline, athleticism and joy — to thousands of kids. If you'd like to help us reach more kids, it's easy and costs little or nothing. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org to find out more.

Odaiko Sonora opened for Flam Chen and Ensphere's epic
new work, Electropolis at Arcosanti on July 23.
Photos by Logan Bier & Jim Vigileos.

Odaiko Sonora performing at Paolo Solari's iconic Arcosanti

OS at Arcosanti

Rome, Karen, Nicole, Rebecca, Kristin, Jane and Marnie are heading to Stanford for the 2011 North American Taiko Conference. We'll train hard, bring back our new knowledge to Tucson, and share what we learn with you!

Last, and most importantly, we're collecting new hats and scarves for kids from Kamashi Elementary School. The school is in the Iwate prefecture, one of the hardest hit by the recent earthquake. If you'd like to be part of this effort, visit the Friends for Japan website, or contact us and we'll help you help them. info@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.


Updated July 27, 2011

This Friday, we wrap up Fenster Ranch Camp and end our summer camp season. Karen will be drumming for To-Reé-Neé's Spectacle this weekend at Dinnerware Gallery, and soon, many Odaiko Sonorans will head to Stanford for the 2011 North American Taiko Conference!

Mark your calendars for Sept. 22 when we open the Green Valley season, and Sept 24 for the season's first Rhythm Industry Review.

Odaiko Sonora at Oro Valley
Public Library as part of the
Summer Reading Program.
Photo: A.E. Araiza, AZ Daily Star.

image of Rome Hamenr dancing with kids

If you've ever wanted to try taiko, you can drop in at 3:00pm on the following Fridays: July 29, Aug. 5, 11, and 26. Come try it! If you decide not to continue, you're first class is free anyhow. So there's nothing to lose except the opportunity to play the big drums.


Updated June 18, 2011

In our group's early years, summer was a long, hot gig-less stretch, with little to do besides brush up on repertoire, hone skills, and learn new songs.

That's no longer the case, as you can see from our extensive list of programs through the end of July! It makes us happy that Tucsonans have discovered taiko is something to enjoy year 'round.

If you've ever wanted to try taiko, there's a new 6-week AART (All Ages Recreational Taiko) class starting June 25. Come try it! If you decide not to continue, you're first class is free anyhow. So there's nothing to lose except the opportunity to play the big drums.

In August, many members head off to the North American Taiko Conference. This biennial conference provides access to master level training and other resources for taiko players. It's an important part of how we continue to bring our contant goal of bringing excellent taiko to this region.

Odaiko Sonora at 2nd Saturday

Odaiko Sonora Performers and Community Group members gathered a huge crowd for the June 11
2nd Saturday downtown. From left: back row:
Rebecca, Holly, Kristin, Rome, Rick; front row:
Marnie, Karen, Nicole, Yuko.
Photo by Margaret Chung.

Look for Odaiko Sonora at summer camps for Tucson Circus Arts, Catalina Foothills Community Schools and Fenster Ranch. We've also unveiled a new program for the Tucson Pima Public Library's summer reading program: a Japanese folktale told with taiko, fue and shamisen!


Updated May 22, 2011

Alas, we did not win the minivan in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good Program. But Odaiko Sonora made a great showing, and we have many people to thank for their help getting the vote in. We also want to thank Toyota for their innovative contest, which was obviously designed to level the playing field for deserving nonprofit finalists.

Rome and Karen had an incredibly successful session at the opening of this year's ASTD Conference in Orlando. Follow their exploits on the Taiko Time blog.

Saturday classes and practices continue through the summer. The Friday drop-in is cancelled till June 17. Our next big public performance is June 11, when Tucson Pima Public Library sponsors an early set on the Scott Ave. stage for the June 2nd Saturday Downtown.

Community Group members at our 9th Pima Community College Japanese Speech Contest

Odaiko Sonora Community Group members
rip it up at our 9th Annual Pima Community
College Japanese Speech Contest. Photo by Marnie Sharp.

Look for Odaiko Sonora at summer camps for Tucson Circus Arts, Catalina Foothills Community Schools and Fenster Ranch. We'll also be unveiling a new program for the Tucson Pima Public Library's summer reading program. Our new offering features taiko, fue and shamisen in the telling of a Japanese folktale.


Updated May 12, 2011

Mark you calendars PLEASE for May 21, and click on the link above to "like" our Facebook page.

Odaiko Sonora has been selected as a finalist in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good Program. We have a 1-in-5 chance of winning a new minivan!

What's a car to a nonprofit? In most cases, it means being able to deliver goods and services — meals and healthcare, educational programs, cultural experiences, and a sense of community pride — to people and communities who are desperately in need of those things. For nonprofits, vying for ever diminishing resources, Toyota's program is exact, tangible help.

My request is simple: help bring the gift home to Tucson.

Toyota's 100 Cars for Good Program logo

If you simply click on the "like" button above, we'll remind you to vote on the day of. Then you can just forget about it till you hear from us :-)

If you are even slightly unconvinced, please watch our 2 minute 100 Cars for Good video

If you have questions, need guidance or just need to talk about this wacky idea, feel free to contact me. Karen, karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.


Updated April 9, 2011

One might think we're suffering for work in this economy, but the opposite is true. More people than ever are looking to our art form and energy to meet their personal, event and community-building goals.

That's what the arts do: they awaken us to the life we're living; they help us cope with hardship, and they bring us together.

Increasingly, however, requests are for free programs. It's hard to say "no" to things like tsunami benefits, cancer awareness events or heritage celebrations. However, like most companies, we have limited resources. Like any business, a nonprofit has a mortgage/rent, utilities, and administrative costs.

Thus, we're launching a spring 2011 Friends of Odaiko Sonora (FOOS) Drive. The FOOS program provides the group with an ongoing, stable source of income: something we know comes each month regardless of seasonal, market or political climates.

For as little as $10 a month, you can become a Friend of Odaiko Sonora, and know that each month you help us bring taiko—it's energy, joy, discipline and community-building power—to thousands of people in our region.

During this drive, all new FOOSes will receive their choice of books and/or cds from the personal library of founder Karen Falkenstrom! Karen is a biblio-audio-phile and past concert producer. Her exquisite collection ranges from oldies, contemporary folk, world and ethnic, to electronica, experimental and classical.

To become a Friend, simply click here:

Or contact Karen for step by step instructions: karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

Odaiko Sonora members and students helped kick-off
this year's Race for the Cure on Sunday. One of the
many free community performances we donate each
year to serve soutern Arizona and its residents.
Photo by Marnie Sharp

kids at the March 26 Rhythm Industry Review

Kids at the March Rhythm Industry Review
join us in a festival procession.


Updated March 29, 2011

students at Willcox Middle School Students at Willcox Middle Schooa learn taiko basics
during their science class period. Part of their work
involved scientific methodology regarding wound
as vibration, and the physics of bodies in motion.

Updated March 23, 2011

We had another amazing weekend, including workshops with Kodo's Chieko Kojima and Saturday night's fundraiser at Sushi Yukari. Money raised will benefit relief funds for tsunami victims. We are awed by Yukari and her wonderful staff, who worked non-stop for so many hours, and will donate 50% of all sales to relief efforts.

We topped of the weekend by joining Za Boom Ba's Community Rhythm Jam for Catalina Foothills Community Schools. Check out our one-day Introduction to Taiko on April 30.

Do not miss the Rhythm Industry Review this Saturday, March 26 from 7–10pm. Paul's rigging up the outdoor aerial scaffold and Batucaxé is conjuring all kinds of joy-filled grooves. It'll be a night to remember, we promise!

Chieko Kojima signs the Rhythm Industry Performance Factory door of fameChieko Kojima, Kodo Art Sphere American's
visiting master teacher, signs the Rhythm
Industry Performance Factory door of fame.

Odaiko Sonora performs "koza riot" by Ryuku Underground at The Hut for Cannibal Cabaret

Odaiko Sonora performed to
Ryuku Underground's "Koza
Riot" on Feb. 12 at The Hut.
The event, Cannibal Cabaret,
was produced by Flam Chen
as the last fundraiser for the
2010 All Souls Procession.

It was a rare opportunity to
see Karen on Shamisen,
Rebecca in full Okinawan
garb and Rome in psuedo-
military drag.

 

 

 


Updated Feb. 14, 2011

Wow! What a weekend! We made appearances at 2nd Saturday, at The Hut as part of Flam Chen's Cannibal Cabaret, and then on the patio in front of Centennial Hall before the KODO concert. We'll be seen next heading up the parade this coming Saturday at Carnaval in Armory Park. Join us!

Lots of new items to share:

Work It!

On Tuesday, March 1, we kick off a month of fitness and fun with our new Taiko Workout session. The classes are Tuesdays and Fridays, 7am–8am at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, 1013 S. Tyndall. Get your day started with a strenuous, invigorating workout on the big drums! $10/class.

Taiko Workout image

Red Hot Kimono

OS member Rebecca Bushner has earned a kimono certification and now has her own kimono blog. Check it out for a unique and personal perspective on the allure of Japanese traditional costume and an insider look at some of Odaiko Sonora's grander gigs.

image of purse and zori

The Real Deal

On March 19, we are honored to host KODO and Hanayui member Chieko Kojima. In KODO's early years, Kojima-sensei carved out a niche for herself as one of the few regularly performing female members. The workshops are sponsored by KASA (Kodo Art Sphere America).

image of Chieko Kojima

Jan. 17, 2011

We wish we could simply say Happy New Year, but that privilege was taken from us all on Jan. 8, when Tucson became nationally known for all the wrong reasons.

We hope you will take this opportunity to move forward in a greater state of grace.

To that end, we share this list. An unknown woman entered this repeatedly on an online news site comments section -- her only response to the cruel, divisive comments of other online readers.

1. Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
2. Tell the truth.
3. Don't call people names.
4. Be respectful and considerate to others.
5. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Tucsonans for peace

REGISTER TODAY
We're expanding northwards. Tomorrow we begin teaching through Catalina Foothills Community Schools. Join our 4-week beginner taiko session for a mere $75. We provide the drums and instructional material. Register online (scroll down to Music & Dance).


Updated Dec. 14, 2010

Another fabulous year of Tucson Marathon playing, with a record 15 players. We set up in the last mile of the course at 7am, and drummed till 1pm.

Most of us were beat after our 6 hour drumming marathon, but i's well worth it. We received many messages of thanks for helping rally runners in that last grueling mile.

As we approach the New Year, we hope you'll all take some time to mediate on your hopes and dreams and take some time to help others realize theirs.

Dawn, Catalinas, the sound of taiko...
what more could a runner want?

dawn on the marathon course

Join us in 2011 at 2nd Saturday, Jan. 8, in downtown Tucson. We'll be stationed near Scott and Congress. Till then, Happy Holidays!


Updated Nov. 10, 2010

Here's a little photo essay on this weekend's All Souls Procession:

The 2010 All Souls Procession obon dancersOur 2010 All Souls Procession obon dancers

The processional drum cartThe Odaiko Sonora drum cart accompanies the Urn

The taiko stageThe Urn is placed on the tower as Esphere & Odaiko Sonora play

The siphonophore, with Rome and our odaiko atopRome and the odaiko will ride the airwaves

The crane lifts the siphonophore bachi on fire!  The Urn burnsThe crane lifts the siphonophore (and Rome), we light up bachi, and the Urn carries our ancestoral greetings, our hopes and dreams to the heavens.

For those of you who support Tucson's most creative, inclusive, meaningful and fabulous event, please consider helping pay off this year's bills by donating at allsoulsprocession.org


Updated Nov. 2, 2010

We're deeply immersed in preprations for the 21st All Souls Procession on Sunday, Nov. 7.

Our last free community workshop to learn Tucson's own obon (Japanese ancestor festival) dance is this Saturday, Nov. 6, 12:30–1:30pm.

In addition to teaching you the dance, we'll help you get a costume together, advise you about make-up and other issues involved in participating.

For guidelines and to download a prayer form to place in the Urn, see the All Souls Procession website www.allsoulsprocession.org

Rome is rigged in for the crane lift rehearsal

Above: Rome does a final safety
check before becoming airborn at
the crane lift rehearsal on Oct. 22.

Right: Bugsy, the taiko dog, keeps
a close eye on the new bats, turned
out of Atlantic white cedar by artist
Lynne Yamaguchi. The smaller
of the two is inlaid with turquoise!

Bugsy guards the newly turned Atlantic cedar bats


Updated Oct. 13, 2010

We had an awesome day at Tucson Meet Yourself, with 1,000 people watching as 22 Odaiko Sonorans played their hearts out. We thank Mia Hansen of Tucson Meet Yourself and its sponsors for making the event possible.

We turn our energy to other things. For the Community Group, it's time to brush up old standards that got dusty while preparing new songs for TMY. For ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) students, it's time to launch an 8-week session of skills and thrills. For the Performing Ensemble and Understudies, it's the 21st All Souls Procession.

close up of shime-daiko

TMY 2010

Come to our free community workshops on Oct. 21, 23 & 30 to learn Tucson's very own ancestor festival dance. We'll help you get a costume together. Then process with Odaiko Sonora on Nov. 7!

37 years of Tucson Meet Yourself and 8 years of Odaiko Sonora! These images by our pal Murray of Phoenix Taiko Kai depict some memorable moments.

TMY 2010
For information on the upcoming 8-week Adult Recreational Taiko beginning Oct 16, email rome@tucsontaiko.org. For info on our Otaka Youth Taiko, email zippy@tucsontaiko.org. For info on the weekly Friday 3:00pm Drop-in session, email or call karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

Updated Oct. 4, 2010

We're in the flow of the season, with our first couple of public performances behind us, and Tucson Meet Yourself on the horizon. TMY is a kind of annual milestone for Odaiko Sonora members. For most, it's the first time they performed taiko in public.

And this year is no different. Twenty players will grace our stage, including several Adult Recreational Taiko students in their debut appearance! Don't miss them, this Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 at 3pm on the City Hall Stage, El Presidio Park.


Beyond that, our major creative venture centers around the 21st All Souls Procession. Come to our free community workshops on Oct. 21, 23 & 30 to learn Tucson's very own ancestor festival dance. Then process with Odaiko Sonora on Nov. 7!

The Odaiko Sonora Community
Group and ART students perform
a new, original song, "Yuudachi,"
depicting the power of torrential
desert rains. Photo: Dave Barger.
See more images from the
last Rhythm Industry Review.

Odaiko Sonora Community Group performs "Yuudachi" at the Oct. 2 Rhythm Industry Review

For information on the upcoming 8-week Adult Recreational Taiko that begins Oct 16, email rome@tucsontaiko.org. For info on our 'tweens class, email zippy@tucsontaiko.org. For info on the weekly Friday 3:00pm Drop-in session, email or call karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

Updated Sept. 8, 2010

As you know from our e-newsletter (if you get our e-newsletter), Odaiko Sonora has been happily engaged in taiko workshops, residencies and upcoming season planning all summer. If you don't get our e-newsletter, email karen@tucsontaiko.org ASAP so she can add you to our list.

And since all of our upcoming appearances are listed below, we won't repeat ourselves. The most artistically challenging project we've embarked on in our history has commenced as of this month. Odaiko Sonora has been invited to collaborate on music for the All Souls Procession finale by local alt. rock icon Ensphere. If you haven't experienced Ensphere, you can at the Rialto on Sept. 11. It's also 2nd Saturday downtown, so you may see an Odaiko Sonoran or two around Scott & 6th between 7 and 8pm.

Odaiko Sonora is part of a multi-year, multi-site program
bringing the arts to rural and border k–12 schools in
southeast AZ. Pictured are
students from Ft. Thomas
High School, which is about 20 min.- north of Thatcher.

Ft. Thomas High School students learning taiko

For information on the upcoming 4-week Adult Recreational Taiko that begins Sept. 11, email rome@tucsontaiko.org. For info on our 'tweens class, email zippy@tucsontaiko.org. For info on the weekly Friday 3:00pm Drop-in session, email or call karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.


Updated Aug. 13, 2010

We're at the end-of-summer vacation push, planning the upcoming season and trying to finish projects that were put off during our busy season. Our performance season seems to have expanded over the years from having most of June, July and August off, to this year, which didn't end till July 31 and begins again Aug. 16!

No rest for the wickedly wacky and dedicated.... Highlight of the fall include a full-on Rhythm Industry Review on Oct. 2, Tucson Meet Yourself the next weekend, and the All Souls Procession finale on Nov 7. Also look for our particpation the next weekend for the Tucson Pima Arts Council's fabulous Open Studio Tour.

mitsu domoe

The next 8-week Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class begins Saturday, Sept 11. It runs every Saturday from 2:30–4:30pm. Email Rome if you are interested in enrolling. The cost is $150, but in cases of hardship, we've been known to work with students to make sure they can play. Our "it should sting but not hurt" policy means money is not a good enough reason to keep anyone who wants to from studying taiko.

The 3:00pm Drop-in session is on hold till Friday, Aug 20. After that, drop-ins continue through the fall. For more information, email or call karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

For information on Taiko 'tweens , email Nicole.


Updated July 27, 2010

A little mid-summer picture book

Taiko van filled to the brim

This was 1 of 3 vehicles needed to load in for the Green Valley concert. And did we mention it took 2 trips?

Kristin inventories the narimono

Kristin, backstage, makes sure we didn't forget any of the little noisemakers, or narimono...

Sarah on the loading dock

While Sarah and Rome, at the loading dock, check in the large noisemakers.

Rebecca, delivers with her usual flair.

Rebecca delivers

Charlene and Kate review their set lists.

Charlene and Kate review their set changes and cues

And then the lighting and sound check.

Lighting check

We're hoping someone else got some photos of us actually performing!

We've been asked to offer additional 4-week Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) classes before the fall 8-week unit. The next one begins Saturday, Sept 11. The class runs 2:30–4:30pm. Email Rome if you are interested in enrolling. The cost is $75, but in cases of hardship, we've been known to work with students to make sure they can play. Our "it should sting but not hurt" policy means money is not a good enough reason to keep anyone who wants to from studying taiko.

The 3:00pm Drop-in session is on hold till Friday, Aug 20. After that, drop-ins continue through the fall. For more information, email or call karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

For information on Taiko 'tweens , email Nicole.


Updated June 10, 2010

Tucson Circus Arts logo

Summer is in full swing, with a new upcoming 4-week Naname style workshop on Saturdays at 2:30pm, and the daily kids class that opens each day of the Tucson Circus Arts Camp. The camp has two sessions: May 31–June 11 and June 21–July 2. Kids also learn aerial silks, stilts and poi spinning. Their first recital is Friday, June 11, 8pm.

Mark your calendars for their final graduation and other marvels at the July 3 Rhythm Industry Review, 7pm–10pm. Also mark July 6, for Odaiko Sonora's full-length concert in Green Valley. Call 520-625-3440, ext. 7225 for tickets and info.

TCA logo

Drop-in sessions are cancelled during Circus camp weeks, but will meet on Friday, June 18 at 3pm. For more information, email or call Karen, (520) 481-8003. For information on the Taiko 'tweens class, email Nicole.


Updated May 8, 2010

Advocacy is not a sexy word... but that's what it takes sometimes to keep what you want in your life in your life. Our children's education, our quality of life, and a $57 million dollar industry that costs the city a mere half million are all on the line.

Odaiko Sonora receives about $5,000 a year from the local arts agency, TPAC (Tucson Pima Arts Council). The amount is not what's irreplaceable. What's irreplaceable is the validity that a grant from the local arts council gives our agency. A TPAC grant is the seal of approval that allows us to leverage state and national funding, and, more importantly, the private sector contributions that make up 25% of our organizational budget.

Please consider signing now TucsonPetition.org to support funding for the arts in Tucson.

Below are images by Patrick McKelvey and Karen at the Taste of Asia festival on May 1.
Odaiko Sonora Community Group performs Raku at Taste of Asia Nicole & Rebecca in yukata at Taste of Asia

Updated April 26, 2010

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Stanley Morgan. Mr. Morgan is recognized as the first person of non-Japanese ancestry to start a taiko group in North America. He helped launch West Covina Taiko, Norwalk Taiko, and other groups. A master drum-builder, he built taiko for groups ranging from Kinnara to San Jose, and his innovations in drum building are still used by drum makers today.

Mr. Stanley Morgan plays taiko in Little Tokyo in the early 1970s
Mr. Stanley Morgan building taiko

As leader and sensei of his own group, MoGan Daiko, he was Rome and Karen's first taiko teacher. Without him, his untiring love of the art form, and his strong determination, there would be no taiko in southern Arizona. Thank you, Mr. Morgan, for all you gave us.

Left: Mr. Morgan built taiko for some of
the earliest North American taiko groups.

Right: Mr. Morgan performing in
Little Tokyo in the early 1970s.


Updated April 12, 2010

We're halfway through our busiest April ever! We've played two elementary school assemblies, are close to wrapping up a ten-week afterschool residency at Van Buskirk Elementary School, performed for a group of international pharmaceutical students, and gave a grand send-off to 12,000 Race for the Cure participants.

Our next two big, free public gigs are The PCC Japanese Speech Contest on April 24 at the Northwest Campus, and May 1 at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center. The latter is the first ever Taste of Asia festival. Please come celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month with us!

Van Buskirk Elementary School students learn taiko in this ACA funded afterschool program

Van Buskirk Elementary School students learn taiko in this ACA funded afterschool program

As many of you know, Odaiko Sonora's mission is to bring a first hand knowledge of taiko to the people of southern Arizona. If you're interested in having taiko at your event, or in learning how to play taiko, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org

If you're interested in our studio, see a schedule of classes and activities at rhythmindustry.org

Odaiko Sonora launched runners and walkers in this year's Susan B. Koman
Race for the Cure. From left are Kristin, Rome, Karen, Sonya and Charlene.
Picture taken by ART student Mary Margaret.

Odaiko Sonora members kicked off the 2010 Race for the Cure

Updated March 22, 2010

Matsuri is over, and Odaiko Sonora is gearing up for the March 13 Rhythm Industry Review. Come see how performance is created and crafted, onsite at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. The event runs from 7pm to 10pm, with light refreshments, hands-on fun, and informal time with some Tucson's most respected local performers. $10 suggested donation.

Meanwhile, Karen is on the road, managing Shidara's 2010 U.S. tour. Keep up with her activities by visiting the group's website, YouTube page and blog. If you're an iphone or ipod touch user, check out the cool new Taiko with Shidara app.

Odaiko Sonora at the 2010 Matsuri.

matsuri 2010

Updated Feb. 1., 2010

Happy Lunar New Year! We just played the MeKong Plaza Vietnamese Tet (New Year celebration) in Mesa. Organizers of the Our Lady of La Vang Parish sent us up to represent Tucson. We did 5 sets in two-days, had a lot of fun, and made many new friends.

This Saturday, you won't want to miss Carnaval in Armory Park! We'll perform a short set at 11:30am, and then lead the noon parade. Come by our table and visit!

Most importantly, please consider attending the Feb. 18 Haiti Relief Concert being organized by 12 year-old Aodhan Lyons at the Fox. Aodhan, who lost five family members in the earthquake, says that he “was inspired to do something about the devastation in Haiti after watching it on television” and talking with his uncle Mickey, who is Haitian. Originally, Aodhan thought that this would be his Bar Mitzvah project (he is becoming a Bar Mitzvah this year), but “it is obviously much bigger than that now.”

Mesa Tet
Mesa's Vietnamese New Year, or Tet Festival host Tiffany Nguyen and the Miss Texas

Jan. 19, 2010

Happy New Year! We're celebrating all month, starting with the Dec. 31 First Night, through the Tucson Children's Museum Japanese New Year. Still upcoming Vietnamese New Year celebrations at Mekong Tet 2010 Lunar New Year Festival in Mesa on Feb. 6 & 7, and here in Tucson, at Our Lady of LaVang on the Lunar New Year itself, Feb. 14.

Sources say, "the year of the Tiger is traditionally associated with massive changes and social upheaval. 2010 is very likely to be a volatile one, on the world scene, as well as on a personal level." Well, hang on to your hats. Come see us soon!


Below left: Karen busts some mad "taiko-statues" moves for kids at the Tucson Children's
Museum's Japanese New Year. A young man enjoys his first encounter with the big drums.


Jan 3., 2010

Please join us on Thurs., Jan. 7 for the 1st Thursday Art Walk at the Unverisity of AZ's Main Gate Square. We'll be there from 5:30–7:30pm, performing, talking taiko and letting folks try playing the drums! It's FREE!

Then, on Sat,, Jan. 9, we'll be at the Tucson Children's Museum for their Festivals of Friendship Japanese New Year. This promises to be a full day of fun, with a free community taiko workshop at 11:00am, and a performance by Odaiko Sonora at 1:00pm. Participants in the morning workshop will be invited to join us for a song during our 1:00pm set.

Arigato gozaimasu!

Batucaxé and Odaiko Sonora party on in front of the
Stevei Eller Dance Theatre after the Taiko Plus! concert.

scene from the finale of the Taiko Plus! concert on Nov. 22


Updated Dec. 16, 2009

We're hunkering down for the holidays now that the December Rhythm Industry Review and Tucson Marathon are over. We'll be performing at the Tucson Children's Museum at 6:00pm on New Year's Eve, right before Jovert.

On Jan. 9, we'll at TCM again for their Japanese New Year, part of their Festivals of Friendship series. That promises to be a full, fun day, with a free community taiko workshop at 11:00am, and a performance by Odaiko Sonora at 1:00pm. Participants in the morning workshop will be invited to join us for a song during our 1:00pm set.

Our end of the year wish is for more of our friends to take the next step and become official Friend Of Odaiko Sonora (FOOS) by joining our online monthly donation program. For a mere $10/month, you can help to ensure that Odaiko Sonora, it's programs and studio, are secured against the increased challenges of our current economy. For less than it costs to buy a used dvd of a b-list movie, you can help make it possible for us to maintain our 40+ free appearances in the community each year, and to keep our studio open. Please consider becoming a FOOS today by going to our Network for Good page and registering.

Arigato gozaimasu!

 

drums on stage

The new Rhythm Industry Performance Factory site and calendar are up and running. If you're interested in learning to spin flaming poi, stilt-walk, dance, do mime or aikido, learn butoh/viewpoints, afro-Brasilian dance/percussion, or get more involved with events like the All Souls Procession and Carnaval, visit rhythmindustry.org.


Nov. 24, 2009

We hope you got to see the Taiko Plus!" concert last weekend. We were surprised after the Friday show—that ended with a procession and mini dance party out in front of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre—when KOLD weatherman Chuck George invited all of us to join him for a live broadcast from the UA mall. See the lively segment with Batucaxé on KOLD's website.

And even if one doesn't count the excellent media coverage, the concert was a smashing success. Everyone learned new things, everyone had fun, and everyone got paid!

We took it easy over the Thanksgiving holiday, with practices and classes canceled, and much food and rest being had by all Odaiko Sonora members. Be well, and filled with gratitude!

Images from this week's tech and dress rehearsals by Chuck Koesters.    

Rome plays for Thom Lewis Dance

Nicole plays Yatai Bayashi   

The new Rhythm Industry Performance Factory site and calendar are up and running. If you're interested in learning to spin flaming poi, stilt-walk, dance, do mime or aikido, learn butoh/viewpoints, afro-Brasilian dance/percussion, or get more involved with events like the All Souls Procession and Carnaval, visit rhythmindustry.org.


Nov. 15, 2009

The only words we have are "Taiko Plus!" The concert, upcoming this Friday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 22, is our first in two years, and has been re-visioned to showcase Tucson's exceptional local talent. Taiko songs—traditional, modern and original compostions—will be the setting for three new collaborations with award-winning Tucson performers.

Join us, Thom Lewis Dance, Theatrical Mime Theatre and Batucaxé for an extraordinary evening at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on the Univeristy of Arizona campus, at the east end of the mall. Friday show is at 8pm, and Sunday show is at 7pm. Tickets are $18, and available at Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave., or online at brownpapertickets.com. Read the Tucson Weekly article.

Images from this week's tech and dress rehearsals by Chuck Koesters.    

Rome plays for Thom Lewis Dance

Karen in Kasa Mix   Nicole plays Yatai Bayashi  

The new Rhythm Industry Performance Factory site and calendar are up and running. If you're interested in learning to spin flaming poi, stilt-walk, dance, do mime or aikido, learn butoh/viewpoints, afro-Brasilian dance/percussion, or get more involved with events like the All Souls Procession and Carnaval, visit rhythmindustry.org.


Updated Oct. 14, 2009

Many thanks to Council Member Nina Trasoff! Last year she realized that taiko might benefit kids at Mary Meredith's K–12 Exceptional Education program, and introduced Odaiko Sonora to Principal Terry Polan. After a successful pilot program in January 2009, we worked with school staff to write a grant to the Arizona Commission on the Arts. The grant was funded, and this month we began an ongoing monthly program of taiko for 4th–12th graders and CVI students at Mary Meredith.

Don't miss the next Intro to Taiko Workshop at 2:15pm on Saturday, Oct. 17, in conjunction with the first Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class. It's a mere $25, which can be applied to your ART fee if you decide to continue playing.

Remember Fridays at 3pm are our weekly taiko drop-in for all levels and all ages. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org for information.


Community Group practicesThe Odaiko Sonora Community Group is practicing diligently
to perform their best for you on Sat., Oct. 10, 3:30pm on the
Tucson Meet Yourself City Hall stage in El Presidio Park.


Updated, Oct. 9, 2009

This Saturday, Oct. 10, we'll be making one of our favorite appearances, Tucson Meet Yourself! The whole Odaiko Sonora Community Group will be playing at 3:30pm on the City Hall Stage.

Because of the TMY time slot, we had to postpone Oct. 10's Intro to Taiko Workshop (ART). It will now happen at 2:15pm on Saturday, Oct. 17, in conjunction with the first Adult Recreational Taiko class. It's a mere $25, which can be applied to your ART fee if you decide to continue playing.

Remember Fridays at 3pm are our weekly taiko drop-in for all levels and all ages. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org for information.

The Odaiko Sonora Community Group is practicing diligently
to perform their best for you on Sat., Oct. 10, 3:30pm on the
Tucson Meet Yourself City Hall stage in El Presidio Park.


Community Group practices


Sept. 14, 2009

This weekend is the one year anniversary of the Rhythm Industry Review! Join us Saturday, Sept. 19 from 7–10pm at 1013 S. Tyndall to see what's up at our studio. Performances by Odaiko Sonora members and 'tweens class students, Batucaxé, Theatrical Mime Theatre, Movement Salon, Thom Lewis Dance and more!

Also this weekend, for those of you who have dreamed of playing taiko, we've designed a new 3-hour Intro Workshop where you can test the waters. The first is scheduled for 1:30–4:30pm on Saturday, Sept. 19. It's a mere $25—or possibly less if you can convince Karen that your desire is great, but your wallet slim. We follow the "it should sting but not hurt" policy when it comes to the cost of personal growth practices.

Remember Fridays at 3pm are our weekly taiko drop-in for all levels and all ages. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org for information.

Sonoran Aikikai class photo
Sonoran Aikikai students beaming after their first taiko lesson.
Some will join our Taiko 'tweens class on Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30p


Updated Aug 11, 2009

Six members of Odaiko Sonora attended this year's 7th biennial North American Taiko Conference. Besides participating in classes by taiko masters on everything from bamboo flute to folk dance to chappa (hand cymbals) to matsuri drumming imrov, the 500 conference attendees got a serious dose of taiko culture, history, etiquette..., and now change and innovation. Read more at our tucsontaiko blog. Photos are by Tracy Baynes.

Classes continue as usual with Taiko Drop-in sessions on Fridays at 3pm, Community Group at 10am Saturdays, and Taiko 'tweens on Thursdays from 5:30–6:30pm. Call (520) 481-8003 or email karen@tucsontaiko.org

For information on the many activities and classes at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, see www.rhythmindustry.org

"Classic" taiko players at the 2009 NATC conference in L.A.

 

"Classic" players PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, founders of San
Jose Taiko, are called up for the "30+ years playing" jam
at the NATC Welcome Reception in Los Angeles. .


Right: Lunch time activities included a demonstration
of several taiko games, including "Taiko Pirates".

Taiko Pirates game

Maze Daiko at the Taiko Ten concert

 

Left: Maze Daiko performs at
Friday's Taiko Ten concert in Noguchi Plaza.

 

 

Right: Kokura Gion Daiko
perform at Saturday's lunch concert,

Kokura Gion Daiko


Updated Aug 1, 2009

Karen spent much of July in California, getting barrels for new drums and dancing at obon festivals. Rome joined her in Sacramento July 25 for the Sacramento Taiko Dan's 20th anniversary concert and to study Okinawan fue, paranku and yotsutake.

And this week, several of us head to L.A. for the 5th biennial North American Taiko Conference. This gathering of taiko players and teachers from all over the world is major event for Odaiko Sonorans. It's where we meet our colleagues, learn new styles and skills, buy much-needed taiko-related equipment, and, since this one is in L.A., get to eat fabulous ramen. Follow us on Twitter and stay tuned to our Taiko Time blog for Rome, Karen, Nicole, Sonya, Tracy and Kate's NATC antics.

Classes continue as usual with Taiko Drop-in sessions on Fridays (except Aug 7) at 3pm, Community Group at 10am Saturdays, and Taiko 'tweens on Thursdays from 5:30–6:30pm. Call (520) 481-8003 or email karen@tucsontaiko.org for more information.

You can learn to play taiko, or a thousand other things you've only dreamed of at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. We're the only artist-owned performing arts incubator in the region! See www.rhythmindustry.org and click on the Yahoo calendar for all classes and to contact instructors.

Above: Odaiko Sonora Community Group members
working up a sweat this summer in our newly dubbed
"bikrim taiko" program; Below: Hosted by San Jose Taiko,
collegiate groups from UC Irvine, Berkeley, and Stanford
learn PJ Hiabayashi's "Ei ja Nai Ka!" for the next day's festival

Odaiko Sonora Community Group image

Collegiate groups practice Ei ja nai ka


Updated June 26, 2009

This has been the busiest May and June in Odaiko Sonora's history. We've already done 16 events—from private parties, team building sessions, school residencies, summer camps, library presentations and straight on performances—and still have two to go.

Yesterday, we returned from two days on the San Carlos Apache Reservation and plunged immediately into a corporate team building workshop. It's amazing how taiko appeals to and can become a learning tool for groups as different as at-risk Native youth and sales professionals... but it does!

Our class schedules continues through June and into July with Drop-in sessions on Fridays at 3pm, Community Group at 10am Saturdays, and a new Taiko 'tweens class starting on July 16. Call (520) 481-8003 or email karen@tucsontaiko.org for more information and to register.

In July, there'll be an exciting new offering at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory: Energy Hoops with Kelly. See www.rhythmindustry.org and clickon the Yahoo calendar for all classes and to contact instructors.

 

On Solstice weekend, Odaiko Sonora provided the music
for Flam Chen's massive, site-specific spectacle
in honor of architect Paolo Soleri's 90th birthday.

Flam Chen at Arcosanti

Odaiko Sonora at Arcosanti


Updated June 9, 2009

Amazing and wonderful news came this month when we learned that Odaiko Sonora co-founder/director and Performing Ensemble member Karen Falkenstrom has received the prestigous Arizona Arts Award. This award—administered by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona on behalf of George and Mary Bartol—is given to a single artist each year for achievement of excellence in her discipline. The accompanying $25,000 prize is intended to help provide the artists with the time and space needed to create. Stay tuned to find out if Karen orders an Asano or invests in the stock market!

Meanwhile, it's business as usual over at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. This week we wrap up the 1st Annual Rhythm Industry Circus Camp. Come to the tri-monthly Rhythm Industry Review on Saturday to see the kids show off their newly acquired skill with stilts, poi spinning, aerial silks, ballet and taiko drumming!

The Review runs from 7pm–10pm, and is quite informal. A $10 donation is suggested to support the studio.

If you want to try taiko, call (520) 481-8003 or email karen@tucsontaiko.org.

For all activities at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, see www.rhythmindustry.org.


April 24, 2009

We're thrilled to have finished up our 10-weeks at Van Buskirk Elementary. Every school residency is different, but they all have one common theme: kids love big drums! We had a great time working with the kids in the PAWS After-School program, and have our fingers crossed for our ACA grant application for next year to come through. In the meantime, thanks to Dianne Villaseñor and all of the Van Buskirk staff who helped make the residency happen (and who fed us that great spaghetti!).

We're entering a busy few weeks for our performers, with shows everywhere from the 17th St. Market to the Lumies. Check out the list below to see where you can catch your favorite taiko group this spring.

If you want to come try playing, call (520) 481-8003 or email karen@tucsontaiko.org.

For all activities at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, see www.rhythmindustry.org.

Van Buskirk Elementary students perform

Students in the AZ Commission on the Arts
supported ten-week afterschool taiko program
perform for friends and family on April 23.


Updated March 19, 2009

It's grant season again, meaning all those artists who entertain and color your world throughout the year are busy filling out online forms. Although it can be tedious and time-consuming to apply to the small pool of public dollars available from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Tucson Pima Arts Council, it can also help us recognize our strengths and weaknesses, sharpen our vision, and articulate the importance of artists and arts groups working in our communities. If you agree, make sure you tell the people in power. Your opinion matters, and it's easy! The Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts site easily connects you to all your elected officials and local media.

Speaking of which, Karen was featured on a recent KUAZ radio piece on arts and economy. You can listen by going to AZ Spotlight.

We continue with the ACA supported 10-week afterschool residency at Van Buskirk Elementary, and our in-studio classes. If you want to come try playing, email karen@tucsontaiko.org.

Odaiko Sonora Community Group and Performing Ensemble members perform an arrangement of Yatai Bayashi at the March 14 Rhythm Industry Review.


Update Feb. 24, 2009

Odaiko Sonora had a rigorous and invigorating weekend of festal culture at Saturday's Carnaval and the Phoenix Matsuri on Sunday. Things will be fairly quite now till mid-March.

We continue with the ACA supported 10-week afterschool residency at Van Buskirk Elementary, and our in-studio classes. If you want to come try playing, email karen@tucsontaiko.org.

It's a well-known fact that arts programs increase student performance, retention and preparedness. Taiko is a particularly effective art program, combining elements of percussion, martial arts, dance, theater and sports. We are currently identifying partner schools for 2009–10..., and we may be able to fund them! If you know of a school that is interested in a taiko residency, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org.

Odaiko Sonora at the 2009 Carnaval

Odaiko Sonora opened this year's Carnaval,
which was presented by Batucaxe, Armory Park
Senior Center and the Tucson Children's Museum.


Updated Feb. 2, 2009

On Saturday, Jan. 31, Karen was honored as Pan Asian Community Alliance Woman of the Year . The sumptuous Lunar New Year banquet at Dragon View Restaurant also honored TCCC Director Victor Wong, TCCC board president Jason Wong, and INNOVA Engineering.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Feb. 21, when Batucaxé—in partnership with Tucson Children's Museum and the Armory Park Senior Center—hosts the 2nd Annual Carnaval. Join us for this multi-cultural celebration of spring! The next day, we'll be heading to Phoenix for Matsuri: A Festival of Japan.

It's a well-known fact that arts programs increase student performance, retention and preparedness. Taiko is a particularly effective art program, combining elements of percussion, martial arts, dance, theater and sports. We are currently identifying partner schools for 2009–10..., and we may be able to fund them! If you know of a school that is interested in a taiko residency, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org.

kids play taiko at Mary Meredith

City Council member Nina Trasoff knows
exposure to the arts at a young age makes
better futures, especially for at-risk youth.
Ward VI educational funds helped support a
two-day Odaiko Sonora residency at Mary
Meredith K–12 alternative school. Both
students and teachers had rave reviews.


Updated Jan. 25, 2009

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Feb. 21, when Batucaxé—in partnership with Tucson Children's Museum and the Armory Park Senior Center—hosts the 2nd Annual Carnaval. Join us for this multi-cultural celebration of spring!

Taiko is a particularly effective art program, combining elements of percussion, martial arts, dance, theater and sports. We are currently identifying partner schools for our 2009–10 grant cycle. If you know of a school that is interested in a taiko residency, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org.

Kojo Nalamura & Odaiko Sonora workshop participants, Tucson, AZ

Grammy Award-winning teacher Koji Nakamura
taught a workshop for AZ taiko players this week.


Updated Jan. 20, 2009

Koji Nakamura workshop flyer image
design by Rebecca Bushner

We're honored to be welcoming Koji Nakamura to Tucson on Sat. Jan. 24 for a full day of workshops. He'll join us the next day when we appear at the Lunar New Year festivities at Our Lady of LaVang on Tucson Blvd.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Feb. 21, when Batucaxé—in partnership with TCM and the Armory Park Senior Center—hosts the 2nd Annual Carnaval. Join us for this multi-cultural celebration of spring!

This week we start a ten-week residency at Van Buskirk Elementary. Taiko is a particularly effective art program, combining elements of percussion, martial arts, dance, theater and sports. We are currently identifying partner schools for our 2009–10 grant cycle. If you know of a school that is interested in a taiko residency, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org.

See our Yahoo Group calendar for details on all activities at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory (you need a Yahoo id and password, but it's free and easy to sign up; use your current email address). You can also email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

 


Updated Jan. 12, 2009

Kids of all ages joined us this beautiful Saturday morning at the Tucson Children's Museum (see images at right). TCM's Japanese New Year celebration was part of their Festivals of Friendship series. Odaiko Sonora performed a half hour set later in the afternoon, joined on one song by workshop participants (playing drums) and audience members (dancing). The event truly fulfilled our vision of how taiko can bring the community together.

We'll do even more towards that vision on Saturday, Feb. 21, when Batucaxé—in partnership with TCM and the Armory Park Senior Center—hosts the 2nd Annual Carnaval. Join us for this multi-cultural celebration of spring!

This week we start not one, but TWO school residencies: Mary Meredith K–12 and Van Buskirk Elementary. Taiko is a particularly effective art program, combining elements of percussion, martial arts, dance, theater and sports. We're are currently identifying partner schools for our 2009-2010 grant cycle. If you know of a school that is interested in a taiko residency, please contact us at info@tucsontaiko.org.

See our Yahoo Group calendar for details on all activitiees at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory (you need a Yahoo id and password, but it's free and easy to sign up; use your current email address). You can also email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Tucson Children's Museum Japanese New Year workshop participants
Tucson Children's Museum Japanese New Year, kids playing taiko


Dec. 27, 2008

Happy New Year! Odaiko Sonora members are taking a much-earned break from performing this holiday season. Our practice and class schedule continues as usual on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, except for the Wed., Dec. 31. We'll be out ringing in the New Year (of the Ox) with our friends and family.

Karen recently returned from a barrel-buying trip to Napa. The adventure included snowy mountain passes, holiday cheer and lots of food. She returned with a minivan full of barrels for the Phoenix taiko players and Odaiko Sonora. Drum building will commence in the New Year.

Speaking of which, our next public appearance will be at the Tucson Children's Museum's Japanese New Year Festival on Jan. 10. A free taiko workshop happens in late morning, and participants will be invited to perform the song they learn with Odaiko Sonora later that afternoon. Call 792-9985 for info.

See our Yahoo Group calendar for details (you need a Yahoo id and password, but it's free and easy to sign up; use your current email address). You can also email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

barrel shed

The Barrel Shop near Napa, was a source for
barrels for making taiko. Last year, Ron sold
the business (which now mainly sells barrels
as planters and yard fixtures) and "retired."
He saved a few barrels here at his ranch,
however, that are destined to become taiko.


Updated Dec. 11, 2008

This Saturday, Dec. 9, get an insider's view of how the Rhythm Industry Performance Factory operates. This vibrant, crucial artspace is home to some of Tucson's favorite performers. It's inside/outside, so dress for comfort and flexibility!

Rhythm Industry Review Schedule

  • 7:00 — Odaiko Sonora taiko students
  • 7:25 — Movement Salon
  • 7:40 — Theatrical Mime Theatre
  • 8:00 — Odaiko Sonora performers
  • 8:10   intermission
  • 8: 30 — Aerial Silks, Flam Chen members and students
  • 8:45 — Denise Uyehara performance art
  • 9:00 — Batucaxé Afro-Brasilian dance and percussion
  • 9:30 — Flam Chen, lit open spin

Video from the Invisible City project will be shown throughout the evening.

In addition to Caliente's The List this week, check out the winter issue of Tucson Guide for a nice article on Odaiko Sonora by Tim Vanderpool, with excellent photos by T. Willet and PJ McArdle.

This month's Ecstatic Dance Event is Dec. 20, 7:30–10:30pm. See our Yahoo Group calendar for details (you need a Yahoo id and password, but it's free and easy to sign up; use your current email address). You can also email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

poster

A huge thanks to award-winning designer
Jackson Boelts, who created the look
for our Review promotions.


Updated Oct. 29, 2008

Join us for a free community workshop on Wednesday Nov. 5, 5:30 to 7:00pm and learn simple beats and dance steps in preparation for the All Souls procession on Sun., Nov. 9. The workshop is at our studio, Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, 1013 S. Tyndall.

This week we'll be finishing up the 5-week Blenman Elementary School residency with four performances for students and their families, and Saturday, we've been invited to play for the Southern AZ Korean Association.

Taijijuan with Tony, Ballet with Lauren Black, Silks and Poi Spinning with Flam Chen, Mime classes, and, of course, taiko classes continue at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. There are also upcoming Yoga/dance (Nov. 2, email Beth Rigby) and Brazilian dance (Nov. 9, email Yarrow) workshops and ongoing community dance opportunities. See our Yahoo Group calendar for details, email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Our performances at Tohono Chul
Park After Dark event included
hands-on sessions, and a focus
on the visually impaired, in
conjunction with the park's multi-
sensory exhibt, Please Touch Again.


Updated Oct. 11, 2008

Tomorrow, Sunday 10/12, join us in lovely Patagonia for their 20th Fall Festival. After a full weekend of Funhouse Movement Theater concerts and Tucson Meet Yourself, we're well-warmed-up.

At this year's TMY, we debuted a new composition by longtime Odaiko Sonora member Sonya Evans-Linsell. This year's performance also marked the last by Jacob Hawkins, who (we're very sad to say) will be moving to California later this month. We wish Jacob, Anne, Rilyn and Carys (our first two taiko babies) the best of fortune on their journey!

Taijijuan with Tony, Ballet with Lauren Black, Silks and Poi Spinning with Flam Chen, Mime classes, and, of course, taiko continue at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. There are also upcoming yoga/dance workshops and ongoing community dance opportunities. See our Yahoo Group calendar for full details. See our Classes page for taiko class info. or email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Students at Blenman Elementary
learn about Japanese culture,
language and art through a
five-week ACA supported
taiko residency.


Updated Sept. 16, 2008

Ejected along with several other performing arts groups from Ortspace in June 2006, Odaiko Sonora felt the only long term solution for large, loud arts was to purchase space.

Two years to the week that we closed on the half-million dollar warehouse at 1013 S. Tyndall, and the coalition of artists and arts groups based at the newly dubbed Rhythm Industry Performance Factory proves the risk was worth it.

Left: November 2006, Karen & Jacob
(among others) envision (and build) a
1500 sq ft sprung-wood dance floor.

The celebration on Sept. 13 featured performances of aerial silks, taiko drumming, text-driven contact improvisation, world-class mime, contemporary dance, alternative techno rock, Afro-Brasilian dance/percussion, and pyrotechnic theater. More than anything, however, it was a testament to what a group of people can do when they believe they make a difference in this world.

Above: On Sept. 13, some of Tucson's premiere small to medium-sized performing groups
have found a home at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory:
The audience assembles in
front of the Master Makers gallery space; Batucaxé dancers get the crowd up on its feet;
Flam Chen's fiery finale was a preview of new work for the Sept. 20 Nimbus show, a fundraiser
for Tucson's most unique community ritual: the All Souls Procession. Photos: Tracy Baynes.


Updated Sept.12, 2008

This Saturday we celebrate the gift of rehearsal space with our fellow resident groups at the Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. If you come, you'll experience aerial dance, Japanese and Afro-Brasilian drumming, a wide range of dance disciplines, mime and fire theater. All this begins at 7pm at 1013 S. Tyndall. Hang out with the artists, eat cookies, and get a glimpse into how these groups make the magic happen for tens of thousands of our region's residents each year. A suggested donation of $10 will help to support the studio.

We have opportunities for all ages to learn taiko. See our Classes page for details. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taijijuan with Tony, Ballet with Lauren Black, Silks and Poi Spinning with Flam Chen continue at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. There are also upcoming yoga workshops and ongoing community dance opportunities. See our Yahoo Group calendar for full details.

 

Poster design by Jackson Boelts.


Updated Aug. 27, 2008

Our 2008 "How the West was One" Tour is complete, covering four states (see image at right) and one city. We performed at Durango, Colorado's first Natsu Matsuri to raise funds for the Jinsei Foundation's at-risk youth Aikido Life program. We were surprised to meet up with some old friends: the Miyagi Ryu Okinawan Dance group, who performed with us at the Albuquerque JACL's Aki Matsuri two years ago. The drive was long, but graced with many of our region's most notable sights: the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, high desert plains, mountains and rivers.

The studio warehouse we call home is undergoing much preparation for Sat., Sept. 13. The first Rhythm Industry Review will feature work by groups now based at our studio. You'll see Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theatre, Thom Lewis Dance, Theatrical Mime Theatre and more! The $10 donation at the door goes directly to support this crucial arts incubator space.

We're currently working with Funhouse Movement Theater on collaborative pieces for their Demeeter concert on the weekend of Oct. 11. That promises to be a crazy week, as we start our first in-school residency of the year at Blenman Elementary, play two nights at the Demeeter, Tucson Meet Yourself AND the Patagonia Arts Festival!

New taiko classes begin September 3. See our Classes page for details. In addition, we have drop-in classes on selected Wednesedays at 1:00pm. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taijijuan with Tony, Ballet with Lois Black, Silks and Poi Spinning with Flam Chen continue at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. There are also upcoming yoga workshops and ongoing community dance opportunities. See our Yahoo Group calendar for full details.

From top: The Odaiko Sonora Performing
Ensemble's 2008 "How the West was One"
Tour covered four states... mainly because
we stopped at 4 Corners Monument and
did this impression of playing Twister;
Taiko, Okinawan Dance, Aikido and other
martial arts demos were set on against a
gorgeous backdrop of mountains and
forests surrounding Durango.


Updated Aug. 13, 2008

Early Sunday morning, the phone woke us with a last minute gig request from Durango, CO! We decided to go because it's a great event—raising funds for the Jinsei Foundation's youth-at-risk programs. We send thanks to our friends at Smokin' Bachi Taiko and New Mexico Taiko, who referred Odaiko Sonora when they were unable to take the booking.

The fall season is shaping up with old favorites and a few exciting new events. First of all, pen in Sat., Sept. 13, the first Rhythm Industry Review from 7–10pm. This quarterly showcase features work by groups who call our studio warehouse home. You'll see Flam Chen, Thom Lewis Dance, Theatrical Mime Theatre and more! The $10 donations at the door goes directly to support this crucial arts incubator space.

We're currently working with Funhouse Movement Theatre on collaborative pieces for their Demeeter concert on the weekend of Oct. 11. That promises to be a crazy week, as we start our first in-school residency of the year at Blenman Elementary, play the Demeeter, Tucson Meet Yourself AND the Patagonia Arts Festival!

New taiko classes begin in September. See our Classes page for details. In addition, we have drop-in classes on Wed., July 23, Aug. 13, 20 & 27 at 1:00pm. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taijichuan with Tony, Ballet with Lois Black, and Silks and Poi Spinning with Flam Chen continue at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. And, of course, taiko classes!

Right: Rome provides background info for the
Fenster Ranch Camp audience. Kids spent
the week learning songs to perform for the
camersp and their families on the final day


Updated July 21, 2008

Despite the heat, Odaiko Sonora's Communiity Group and Performers are plowing through drills and repertoire. Summer offers the opportunity to focus on technical skills— something the gig-driven fall, winter and spring seasons can't afford. Performers and understudies are taking units on body mechanics and theatrical mime to improve technique and stage presence.

Rome and Karen returned from nine days in the Bay area. They trained with Tamaribuchi sensei, attended the Sacramento and San Jose Obon Festivals. It was a wonderful time for connecting with other taiko community friends in Sacramento Taiko Dan, San Jose Taiko and Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble. In addition, Karen took several hours of shamisen lessons with sensei Hideko Nakajima, and will unveil new skills in our upcoming season.

News Flash: Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 13, our first Rhythm Industry Performance Factory Showcase from 7:00pm–10:00pm. This new quarterly review features work by all the arts groups who make our studio warehouse home for their artistic energy. You'll see Flam Chen, Odaiko Sonora, Theatrical Mime Theatre and more! Donations at the door support this crucial arts incubator space.

New taiko classes begin in September. See our Classes page for details. In addition, we have drop-in classes on Wed., July 23, Aug. 13, 20 & 27 at 1:00pm. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taijichuan with Tony, Ballet with Lois Black, and Aerial Silks with Flam Chen continue at our studio, newly dubbed Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. See the schedule of activities.

 

Top: The Buddhist Church of Sacramento
held it's annual bon odori on July 12.
Below: San Jose Taiko's performance is
one of the highlights of their community's
two-day Obon festival. The event is central
to what is now one of the only remaining
original Japantowns in the United States.


Updated July 2, 2008

We're deeply saddened by the news that Daihachi Oguchi, considered by many to be the father of kumidaiko, has died at the age of 84 after being struck by a car. Kumidaiko basically means "group taiko," and is another term for the form of Japanese ensemble drumming that most people know and refer to simply as "taiko." Oguchi-san founded Osuwa Daiko, and helped bring taiko to North America.

Our summer sessions of Intro to Taiko and Taiko 'tweens are finished and new class units begin in September. See our Classes page for details.Community Group and Performing Group practices. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taijichuan with Tony, and Silks with Flam Chen continue at our studio SPACE. Click to see all the activities.

"Your heart is a taiko. All people listen to a taiko
rhythm dontsuku-dontsuku in their mother's
womb. It's instinct to be drawn to taiko drumming."
- Daihachi Oguchi.


Updated May 17, 2008

We're happy to report that Odaiko Sonora received a 2008 Tucson Pima Arts Awards in the Emerging Arts Organizations category. We've come a long way since the spring of 2002! We look forward to bringing taiko to Tucson, and being part of the area's fantastic arts community for years to come.

Summer sessions include a 5-week Intro to Taiko unit on Mondays in June (5:30–7:30pm), Taiko 'tweens for kids ages 7 to 11 on Thursdays from 5:30–6:30pm, and the ongoing Community Group and Performing Group practices. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.


Updated April 12, 2008

Seven sold out concerts into their tour and still going strong, SHIDARA, the taiko phenomenon from Toei Japan, is halfway to Tucson. Tickets for their April 20, 7:00pm show are on sale at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office, online, or by calling (520) 624-1515. You can also pick up tickets in person at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors or Enchanted Earthworks.

On the right is a sneak preview of one of Shidara's new songs. Check out Shidara's YouTube page for more behind the scenes tour footage there, and on Shidara's MySpace blog. You can also follow Karen as the tour's Road Manager at the Odaiko Sonora blog, Subscribe, so you don't miss a single thrilling detail as we count down to Shidara's appearance here in Tucson on April 20.

Mana, Aya and Nobu
practice Kazenomichi
before the Wickenburg
show a few days ago.


Updated March 27, 2008

Yoko Fujimoto's visit to Tucson beautifully coincided with the Yaqui Easter ceremonies... [read more]

The current big topic is Karen's stint as Road Manager for the taiko phenomenon SHIDARA. You can glimpse behind the scenes tour info at the Odaiko Sonora blog, or on Shidara's myspace blog. They're different! Subscribe, so you don't miss a single thrilling detail as we count down to Shidara's appearance here in Tucson on April 20. Tickets for their 7PM show are on sale at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office, by calling (520) 624-1515, online, or at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors or Enchanted Earthworks. At least 5 of the shows on Shidara's 17 city tour are now sold out. Do not miss them: get your tickets soon!

 

On the Cerritos PAC loading dock, Shidara takes a break from moving 6,000 pounds of drums to enjoy onigiri and other treats from Hikari Taiko.


March 12, 2008

On Sat., March 22, Odaiko Sonora is proud to host Yoko Fujimoto, co-founder of Hanayui, a women's musical and dance ensemble formed by KODO members. Her expertise in vocal arts has given rise to the "Voice Circle" workshops. We are honored to host this KASA (Kodo Artsphere America) event here in Tucson! The workshop takes place from 11am—2pm, and is open to the public. Registration is $45. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org for information or to register.


Updated Feb. 25, 2008

The Phoenix Matsuri was fabulous, as always. Odaiko Sonorans had a great time, playing for everyone, as you can see from the images to the right. See more photos on Murray's Picasa website.

Youth classes began last week, but there's still time to enroll your kids for a 5-week unit. Through the generosity of City of Tucson Wards 5 and 6, we are able to provide full scholarships! Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information.

Taiko for Life Drop-in sessions continue on Wednesdays at 1pm, followed by Drumming the I Ching, based on on the work of Melinda Maxfield. All classes are open for observation, and your first one is always free.

Shidara tickets are on sale at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office, by calling (520) 624-1515, online, or at Antigone Books, Plaza Liquors or Enchanted Earthworks. This will be the show of the season! Check out the embedded video.

Taijichuan, Yin Yoga Meditation sessions, and classes in Poi Spinning and Silks with Flam Chen continue at Odaiko Sonora SPACE. Click to see all the activities.


Feb. 16, 2008

... your group just blows away the audience!
Thanks so very much for helping us have
such a successful evening! It would not
be a Chinese New Year celebration without
you. It is just thrilling to watch you perform.

We had a fabulous time at our annual Lunar New Year gigs, and now turn our focus on the AZ Matsuri in Phoenix on Feb. 23 & 24. Each day at 11:45am you can see the incredible All AZ Taiko performance and our set is at 1:30pm on Saturday.

The big news is our upcoming Youth classes. We just learned we received funding from City of Tucson Wards 5 and 6 that will provide scholarships for our introductory 5-week unit starting on Thursday, Feb. 21. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org or call (520) 327-1228 for information on how to enroll.


Updated Jan. 28, 2008

It's been a full week of drum building, arts and arts administrative conferencing, tech-ing, rehearsing and performing Mythos, and celebrating the New Year with the Japan-American Society of Tucson. Now we're focused on Lunar New Year activities and the upcoming AZ Matsuri in Phoenix on Feb. 23 & 24.

Shidara tickets are on sale at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office, by calling (520) 624-1515, or online. This will be the show of the season! Some of you may remember this unknown group sold out the Berger Performing Arts Center when we brought them in August 2006. The 2008 tour includes many of the western states' major performance venues, and we're lucky to have them. Get your seats as soon as possible!

Classes

Our new Kids' and Youth classes start on Feb. 21 and the response has been great. Taiko for Life Drop-in sessions continue on Wednesdays at 1pm. Everything is posted on our Classes page. All classes are open for observation, and your first one is always free. Contact karen@tucsontaiko.org or (520) 481-8003 if you wish to try one out or to to register for a class.

Taijichuan, Yin Yoga Meditation, Poi Spinning and Silks with Flam Chen, and Drumming the I Ching sessions, based on on the work of Melinda Maxfield, continue at Odaiko Sonora SPACE. Click to see all the activities.

Above: Art is for all ages at the Family Arts Festival. Below: Karen receives
a YWCA Woman on the Move Award.


Updated Jan. 23, 2008

The hot ticket this weekend is Rick Wamer's Mythos at the lovely Stevie Eller Theatre on the UA Campus.This fabulous multi-disciplinary concert features a huge cast, including UA Dance Department majors and some of Tucson’s best local artists. You'll see Flam Chen, Theatrical Mime Theatre, ZUZI! Dance Company and, of course, your little-Tucson-taiko-za-that-could, and can!

Shows are Friday, Jan. 25, 7:30pm and Sunday, Jan. 27 at 1:30pm. Tickets are available at Antigone Books or online. Get 'em now, the hall's not that big and tickets are going fast!

Since our exciting Pasadena trip, we've kept up a taiko blog, and if you didn't wake up in time to see our Rose Parade opening, you can watch a replay on YouTube.

Classes

Our Adult Recreational Taiko and Intro to Taiko classes have started with great success, and we're looking forward to our new Kids' and Youth classes starting on Feb. 21.

Taiko for Life Drop-in session continues on Wednesdays at 1pm. Everything is posted on our Classes page. All classes are open for observation, and your first one is always free. Contact karen@tucsontaiko.org or (520) 481-8003 if you wish to try one out or to to register for a class.

Theatrical Mime Theatre's Lorie
Heald of is part of the weekend's
sleeper hit, Rick Wamer's Mythos.


Updated Jan. 6, 2008

Participating in the Rose Parade opening was an incredible experience for two of our group leaders. It was an honor to represent Tucson, wonderful exposure for our group, and just a whole lot of fun! Read the blog or watch a replay of the Up With People opening on YouTube.

We're now putting together a fantastic finale for the Jan. 13 Family Arts Festival. We've got a full hour on the El Presidio Stage starting at 4pm. Come by our table to try your hand at drumming, and learn the community dance we'll invite the audience to join us in during our set. We hope to see you there!

Classes

Classes for 2008 are now posted. We're particularly excited about new Kids' and Youth classes starting on Feb. 21. Al classes are open for observation.

Our weekly Drop-in session continues on Wednesdays at 1pm. Contact karen@tucsontaiko.org or (520) 481-8003 if you wish to try one out or to to register for a class.

As southern Arizona's oldest and most established taiko learning center, we always let you take your first class free. We want you to be sure that the physical and spiritual benefits of taiko are right for you!

Tai Chi and Yin Yoga Meditation sessions continue at Odaiko Sonora SPACE. Click to see all the activities, including Poi spinning and Silks classes with Flam Chen and Drumming the I Ching sessions, based on on the work of Melinda Maxfield, each Wednesday at 2:30pm and Saturday at 9:15am.

Our odaiko was part of the backdrop of
"Passport to the World's Celebrations."

Controversial or not, this float featuring
the Beijing Olympics was stunning, and,
rightfully, won the Parade's Theme Award


See pre-2008 News Archive

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