King’s Don Taiko have been playing together since July 2013. Founded and led by Kyoko Ogoda, the group has more than a dozen adults and children from a variety of backgrounds. The name is a pun which combines our hometown of Kingston with the Japanese word for the sound of the drum – ‘don!’
Starting off with only one genuine Japanese taiko drum, the group made their own practice drums from tires and plastic tubs. Gradually, we have been able to replace more and more of these with real drums. We have performed at the Kingston Multicultural Arts Festival, the Skeleton Park Arts Festival, Kingston Homegrown Live, and various workshops and for schools and community events.
Since 2015, the group has been practicing every Saturday in the basement of St. Marks Lutheran Church. There are currently classes for children, adults and beginners. We are gradually learning various types of Taiko styles, skills and techniques, and learning different pieces, as well as developing our own compositions.
What does Taiko mean to us? — King’s Don Taiko is part of a community which connects members together and to other taiko groups in all over the world. We try to reach out beyond this to make contributions in Kingston and our home communities. We want to create an impact and inspire people with the heartbeat of the drum.
Taiko is a practice which combines the physical, the musical and the spiritual. It can help develop self-discipline, the ability to listen to and learn from each other and work as a unit. Taiko can help explore inner self-awareness, to find our weaknesses and strengths, to enable us to face up to difficulties and conflicts in ourselves as well as with others and to respect and celebrate our differences.
Ultimately, Taiko enables us to learn how to combine together to create something more than each of us can be individually, and to make the most of our short time on this earth.
But at the same time, Taiko is just fun.
It’s expressive and creative.
We bang drums!
We make noise!
We have a good time!