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Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, who is credited as bringing taiko drumming to the United States in the 1960s, will perform and teach during Taiko Summit Colorado 2010 on June 5 and 6 in Boulder. (Courtesy photo)


Taiko Summit Colorado 2010 takes place in Boulder

Two-day event features taiko performances from local groups, workshops led by grandmaster

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BOULDER – From driving warriors' morale in battle to communicating between villages, taiko drumming has long had its roots embedded within Japanese culture.


Today its rhythms are used in entertaining, showcasing performances that are stunning both aurally and visually. These heavy beats will fill Boulder this weekend as Taiko Summit Colorado 2010 takes place June 5 to 6.


"Whenever I listen to taiko, you get a sense of the energy and the excitement as it's being performed," said Nicholas Sato, a member of Boulder Taiko "Hibiki." "But until you actually see it, there's no way to really explain how energetic and how intense taiko can be."


The summit will open with a performance at 5:30 p.m. on June 5 at the Boulder Theater, showcasing the different groups in Colorado such as Denver Taiko, Taiko with Toni, Mirai Daiko, Crestone Kaminari Taiko and Boulder Taiko "Hibiki." Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, who is credited as the man who brought taiko drumming to the United States in the 1960s, will play a set with some of his students from San Francisco.


Other performers include vocalist Madi Sato, local shakuhachi player David Wheeler and Yoko Hiraoka, a biwa and shamisen player.


"It's going to be awesome to perform with them on stage and be around them and hopefully learn different tricks, different styles of playing because everyone has their own personal touches," Sato said.


On June 6, there will be three different taiko workshops. A beginner's class will take place from 10 a.m. to noon. From 1 to 3 p.m., there will be a intermediate class and from 3:15 to 5 p.m., there will be an advanced drummers course. Tanaka will be leading all three workshops.


The idea for the summit started when Tanaka asked Boulder Taiko "Hibiki" leader Julia Misawa to create an event to bring together all of Colorado's different taiko groups, Sato said. He added that he hopes the event will also education more people on the art of taiko drumming.


"When you ask people about taiko, or you just mention taiko, a lot of people don't understand what taiko means," Sato said. "It's a lot of education to the public."


Tickets for the performance on June 5 are $24 for general admission, $29.50 for reserved tickets, $20 for students and seniors. Tickets for the workshops on June 6 are $40 for one session, $70 for two sessions and $90 for all three.


For more information about Taiko Summit Colorado 2010, go to www.taikosummit.com.

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