SWCOLT 2022 has ended
This is the official program for SWCOLT/PLAN 2022.
Join us Friday and Saturday, March 25-26, 2022 at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino (GSR) in Reno, Nevada.
Pre-conference workshops are scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Register for the conference and reserve a hotel room at this link: Information & Registration.

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avatar for Reno Taiko Drummers

Reno Taiko Drummers

Rieko Shimbo
Exhibit Hall - SWCOLT Member Reception

As a young girl growing up in Japan, Rieko Shimbo saw taiko music performed at many festivals. Her formal training commenced with participation in Araumaza, a professional taiko company based in Tokyo that performed folk music and dance in Japan. Rieko moved to Houston from Tokyo in 1987, and then settled in Reno in 1994. She formed her own ensemble, Tsurunokai, two years later and began teaching with a single drum that she made from a wine barrel, a hide and Japanese tacks. Today she has 8 drums and 15 students who practice weekly and perform 12 or more times per year. Tsurunokai performs an emerging style of taiko that has evolved from regional styles of Japanese music.

The Reno taiko ensemble’s instruments range from small drums called kodaiko to the very large odaiko. Drums are struck with a bachi (stick). Background sounds are made by metal percussion instruments, a bamboo flute and the calls and responses between the leader and the performers. Performers wear traditional taiko “uniforms” and introduce characteristics the drums and their connections to Japanese culture. Typically the group performs at least three songs representing distinct geographical and cultural features of Japan. Their “jazzy” songs derive from the culture of the Japanese islands where people have integrated taiko into everyday life and have developed a unique style. Other island-based music imitates the sound of the ocean’s waves moving beneath the rhythms of a song. From the mountainous silk-producing region comes music played only during an important cultural festival.

Rieko’s ensemble mixes ancient, traditional sounds with a captivating, modern repertoire. The name, Tsurunokai, means “gathering of the crane”. A graceful and elegant bird, the crane’s image is used throughout Japanese culture as a symbol of longevity and happiness. Taiko, which means “drum” or “wide drum” in Japanese, has a long history. The taiko were used to aid army generals commanding their soldiers and to scare enemies on the battlefields of Japan as far back as the 1400s. Later, taiko music became a fixture in religious temples and shrines and integral to religious ceremonies. Modern taiko music originated in the early 1950s when the first ensemble formed in Japan.