Promo Video on YouTube.
In 1994 Eric "the FISH" Paton composed Ikari no Kaminari (Rage of Thunder) as the overture for a commission by Ballet Metropolitan. Having spent fifteen years of his childhood in Japan, Paton drew as inspiration, legend of Raijin Kamainari sama the thunder god, to compose this work premiered by twenty students ranging in age from 7 to 17 at the Ohio Theater.
With his interest in Japanese music rekindled, in 1995 he began to present taiko at festivals and in schools through the Greater Columbus Arts Councils Artists-In-Schools Program. Paton has presented over one thousand performances and workshops in the last ten years. He has appeared as a guest with Burlington Taiko, performed with Yas Hakoshima Mime Theater, Sachiyo Ito, and Eitetsu Hayashi. In addition to his own compositions, Paton performs literature from the Japanese kumi daiko tradition, including those of Mr. Eitetsu Hayashi.
In 2006, Paton formed Hiuchi Taiko (Hee-oo-chi tie-co) to include fellow Eitetsu Hayashi residency students from Davis Middle School and Capital University. Inspired by the taiko experience in Eitetsu Hayashi Fuun No Kais "Train the Trainer" program and their two-year residency in Ohio, Paton began composing new taiko works with his twin brother, Stuart Paton.
The work Kumite was commissioned for the 2006 Arnold Fitness Classic at Nationwide Arena to open the Friday Night Fight. The premiere was a combined performance with Burlington Taiko (Burlington, Vermont) directed by Sensei Stuart Paton, and the Columbus, Ohio based Hiuchi Taiko.
In Japan, Taiko is both an instrument with a long history and a young art form. Used for meditation, communication, and celebration since the fourth century A.D. it moved to the stage and became performing art in the 1950s. It is this dynamic Kumi daiko group drumming - that draws upon the taiko and its place in the iconography of the Imperial Court, Buddhist ritual, and Shinto derived festivals, and traditional village life.
The Taiko or "Great Drum" has for centuries played an accompaniment role in society during Buddhist meditation, Shinto celebration, Bon dance, ikusa (battle), and Kabuki theater. Kumi daiko or group taiko demonstrates the contemporary evolution of this dynamic performing art with a history spanning 1500 years.
Japanese Drumming - Taiko Workshop (Grade levels K-12)This interactive workshop explores taiko, the festival drumming of Japan, and provides students of all ages the opportunity to participate on traditional taiko and practice drums. Taiko, steeped in the history of Japan, is a dynamic and athletic form of percussion, and appears theatrical, utilizing martial arts in its choreography. Students will enjoy learning traditional movements and rhythms as they explore playing taiko, and will be introduced to some basic Japanese language and culture.
Schools that want a presentation-style program rather than a small-group workshop should select the Taiko Assembly option below. The assembly program includes two additional performers.
Japanese Taiko Drumming Workshop