Saturday, September 17, 2011

Houston's Grand Taiko Concert

Last weekend my best friend and I went to Kaminari Taiko's Grand Taiko Concert here in Houston, the last year for an annual free event that two years ago set the world record for largest taiko performance in the world with 18,000 attendees!

The audience was treated to a full concert of primarily taiko music by Houston's own Kaminari Taiko, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, and Osuwa Daiko, along with a Nihon Buyo (Japanese dance) performance by dance master Takahamaryu Mitsujuroku.

It was a lot of fun, and a perfect chance to wear kimono. Last week I went back and forth on what I was going to wear due to the recent heat wave, but fortunately the weather cooled down enough I was able to wear what I really wanted to: a pink komon with maple-leaf Nagoya obi tied in the usual taiko knot. The multicolored maple leaves on the obi make it a good seasonal fit for late summer, early autumn, and the abstract-pattern komon is OK to wear any time of year.

I believe this particular obi is technically a little dressy for the komon as it has a pattern all over it a la a more formal fukuro obi, but I think it squeaks by because, even though it was held outdoors, a concert is technically a semi-formal event. My kitsuke needs a lot of work, but I enjoyed finally getting this ensemble together.

After the show, the leaders of each taiko group received flowers and threw them into the audience. I caught the ones from the head of the San Francisco group, Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka! (Let it never be said you can't move and jump in kimono when you want to. ;) )

The MC invited the audience to come meet the drummers and performers after the show as they came outside, and it was great getting to meet the leaders of each group and some of the performers.

I also ended up doing some on-the-fly translation for Makoto, head of Osuwa Daiko, and was really happy I did, because I got the chance to translate this amazing compliment for him: One man said, "Of all the free concerts they have out here (at Miller Theater) all year long, this is the only one I come to." Makoto's face lit up and he hugged the man, thanking him.

It was the perfect ending to the evening, and I'm glad I got to catch this last Miller Theater performance of these amazing groups.

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