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About Onibana Taiko

Formed in 2016, Onibana Taiko are three veterans of Vancouver’s Taiko community whose performance presentations draw from Japanese folk music such as minyo and matsuri, all with a touch of feminist punk aesthetics.  We three are E. Kage, Noriko K. Kobayashi and Leslie Komori whose depth of performance and taiko experiences combine to over 100 years. 

 

Our works are inspired by traditional Japanese rituals and ceremonies that become filtered through our Nikkei experiences. We re-examine and facilitate the 'obon' a traditional ceremony involving taiko, dance, and song for the purposes of communing with our ancestors.  We also utilize the 'oharai', a shinto based purification ritual in the form of the sensu (fan) dance.  We incorporate these traditional elements to complement our taiko expression. 

 

All three members are well-grounded in the Japanese cultural arts: as children, Komori and Kobayashi trained in traditional folk dance and music; Kage grew up in Japan and studied martial arts.  Since the early 1980’s all three have been active in the performing arts: Kage and Komori began training in taiko and have been pushing the boundaries of the form; co-founding groups such as Sawagi Taiko, Uzume Taiko (Canada's first professional taiko ensemble), LOUD (taiko and electric guitar ensemble) among other groups and touring parts of Europe and North America.  Meanwhile Kobayashi (alias Mahia or Mahoo) in San Francisco had co-founded the riot grrrls queercore punk band Tribe 8, spending the better part of the 1990s recording and performing extensively in San Francisco, Oakland, and across the US plus several tours in parts of Europe. 

 

Since 2006, Kage and Komori have been training with JODAIKO, an international professional women's taiko ensemble led by T. Tamaribuchi.   Meanwhile, Kobayashi was introduced to taiko in Vancouver and traveled to Japan to spend a decade training and performing with various masters in taiko and the shamisen (Japanese banjo) including Oedo Sukeroku,  Miyake Jima Geinou Doushi Kai, and Kouzo Oyama among others. 

 

When the trio joined forces in 2016, they combined their unique skills and abilities to further push the envelope of ensemble taiko drumming while referencing unique Japanese drumming traditions, borrowing elements of Japanese folk music through melodic interjections, and classical forms such as Kabuki theatre for inspiration while re-contextualizing within our Nikkei perspective. Our membership includes descendants of those who were incarcerated during the racist events of WW2  internment of Japanese Canadians.  Through taiko, we strive to heal, educate and re-examine our place as settlers of Japanese descent on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples.

 

Onibana Taiko Performance History (2017 - 2021)

 

Periodically

Digital Paueru Mashup online dance practise.

To join email: onibanataiko@gmail.com

 

Upcoming in 2021

Spring/summer 2021, Big Drums with Heart: Creating a Virtual Village of Beats & Melodies with Taiko & Rwandan Drums, a digital collaboration with Montreal-based Vincent Nsengiyumva and his Komezinganzo troupe with support from Canada Council of the Arts.

Powell Street Festival 2021

Queer Arts Festival 2021

 

 

Performance Highlights

  • August 1, 2020 Paueru Mashup live performance taping for Powell Street Festival Telethon, Oppenheimer Park, Vancouver BC
  • January 24, 2020 Shinnen Soul, Onibana Taiko Japanese New Year Celebration, Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre, Vancouver BC
  • Kutto-Ni-Zu Tour: September 1, 2019 Bent On Art: Kootenay Queer and Trans Art Festival, Capitol Theatre, Nelson BC, August 31, 2019 Nelson Izu Shi Friendship Society Cottonwood Falls, Nelson BC, August 30, 2019 Community Performance, Bosun Hall, New Denver BC, August 28, 2019 Taiko Under Shooting Stars by the River, Keremeos BC
  • August 4, 2019 Powell Street Festival, Vancouver BC
  • August 1, 2019 Pride In Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, Vancouver BC
  • July 27, 2019 March on Pride 2019, Alexandra Park, Vancouver BC
  • October 24th, 2018 World Traditional Performing Art Festival Micheal J Fox Theatre, Burnaby BC
  • August 18, 2018 Vines Festival, John Hendry Park, Vancouver, BC
  • August 4, 2018 Powell Street Festival with Shot of Scotch, Highland Dance group, Vancouver, BC
  • June 16, 2018 BC Highland Games, Percy Perry Stadium, Coquitlam, BC
  • January 31, 2018 Instruments of Change with Shot of Scotch, The Imperial, Vancouver, BC
  • September 24, 2017 Walk for Reconciliation, Strathcona Park, Vancouver BC
  • August 6, 2017 Powell Street Festival, Oppenheimer Park, Vancouver BC
  • May 19, 2017 1st Annual tiny tiny cozy fest Mayne Island, BC