Taiko are Japanese percussion instruments, and the word is also used (outside of Japan) to refer to the drum ensemble performances. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to see a group perform several different styles of music. One set was telling a story about two imprisoned samurai, and included singing; another had a bamboo flute and small metal gong to accompany the drums; and in another the drummers moved around the drums, switching sides mid song. In nearly all the performances, the drumsticks were swung in stylized, exaggerated movements, accompanied by something like kicks, like a dance.
It certainly looked athletic, and they were all sweating and out of breath by the end. Though it wasn’t loud enough to make my ears hurt, I could absolutely *feel* each beat of the drums.
Audience of reverberating rib cages
thrumming feet and hands
The whole world is the beat
Drumsticks swinging up
taking flight like birds
wings dipping and wheeling
And through it all
boom! tap! clunk! thump!
Sometimes so fast the sound blurs
a dance song told in rhythm