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.

 

Taiko

Audience of reverberating rib cages

thrumming feet and hands

The whole world is the beat

Drumsticks swinging up

out

down

taking flight like birds

wings dipping and wheeling

And through it all

boom! tap! clunk! thump!

Sometimes so fast the sound blurs

others slow

measured

solemn

a dance song told in rhythm

 

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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