For 30 years, San Jose Taiko Drummers (SJT) have mesmerized audiences with the powerful, spellbinding and propulsive sounds of the their taiko drums. Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, our performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko as they strive to create new dimensions in Asian American movement and music.
Under the artistic direction of Roy & PJ Hirabayashi, performance and expression are predicated upon a profound respect for each member of the group. The spirit and essence of both rehearsal and performance require physical endurance, with running and exercise required of all members during practice sessions. All compositions performed by San Jose Taiko are written or arranged by members of the group. Composing, choreographing, designing and producing costumes, and handcrafting of the drums are part of the holistic process in which all members participate. Through this singleness of mind and spirit, harmony is achieved and the music rings with unity and clarity.
San Jose Taiko has broadened and embellished the historical art form into a style that joins the traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms including African, Balinese, Brazilian, Latin and jazz percussion. The resulting sounds are contemporary, exciting, new and innovative, bridging many styles, while still resonant of the Asian soul in America. Company members also study both traditional and contemporary dance with leading choreographers, producing performances that are fully choreographed, and theatrically lit extravaganzas of musical sound. Individual members of San Jose Taiko have also toured with Kodo, Ondekoza, Miyarabi Taiko and the jazz/fusion group, Hiroshima.
Since 1987, when San Jose Taiko became one of the first American Taiko troupes invited to tour Japan, the company has collaborated in joint concerts with internationally renowned Asian performing artists including Kodo, Ondekoza, Eitetsu Hayashi, Michiko Akao, Oedo Sukeroku, Osuwa Taiko and Miyarabi Taiko. SJT has also collaborated with artists and companies from other disciplines, including Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu, Kenny Endo, Eth-Noh-Tec, American Conservatory Theater, George Coates Performance Works, San Jose Repertory Theatre, The San Jose Museum of Art, Abhinaya Dance Company, Jon Jang, Keith Terry and Crosspulse and most recently with Anthony Brown, Marco Lienhard, Qi-Chao Liu, PressGang, and Michael Sasaki.