Tsukasa Taiko (Japanese Drumming)

Tsukasa Taiko is a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest, offers taiko drum instruction, education, and performances.   Tsukasa Taiko’s mission is to preserve, develop, and pass on the traditional concepts of Japanese art as a cultural legacy, to instill an appreciation for artistic excellence, and to utilize these concepts in expanding and evolving the taiko art form.

As a community group dedicated to understanding and strengthening Japanese American, Asian American, and Japanese identity, it strives to respect tradition and develop artistic excellence and connoisseur-ship. Its director, teachers, and administrative staff are dedicated professionals and all are recognized as world class, working artists. As an active performing group, Tsukasa performs over fifty shows a year, both locally and internationally. Tsukasa Taiko offers classes, workshops, lectures, and demonstrations designed to teach how to play taiko, as well as to advance the understanding of how the cultural arts are a reflection of a community’s heritage and legacy.

More information on how to register for classes with Tsukasa Taiko can be found on their website. If you’d like to experience the art of taiko drumming in person, Tsukasa Taiko has numerous performances planned throughout the year in the Chicagoland area.

Tsukasa Taiko is led by prolific composer, multi-instrumentalist, educator and performer, Tatsu Aoki.  One of the most recorded artists in the Chicago music scene, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, from traditional Japanese to jazz to experimental. Born into an artisan family before the downturn of traditional Japanese entertainment, Aoki carries with him the knowledge and self-imposed responsibility of preserving the original essence of that musical genre, while simultaneously expanding the voice of jazz, taiko and other musical forms. Aoki is a recipient of the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicagoan of the Year” award and recognized by Jazziz Magazine as one of the artists who “changed jazz,” among other accolades. For more information, please visit www.taikolegacy.com.

                                   Taiko Legacy 16 and Reduction 7
                         -TSUKASA TAIKO 23ND YEAR JOURNEY-


In its most common incarnation Taiko (Japanese drum), is typically heard at seasonal festivals and temples all throughout Japan. The more esoteric and theatrical expression of Taiko is a less frequent and more difficult endeavor, but at the core of Tsukasa Taiko’s artistic and musical vernacular. At present, the fifteenth-anniversary performance, features two distinct stops on the MCA Stage, continuing along our 22-year journey.

Taiko Legacy 16
Sunday, December 8 | 2:00 pm
Buy Ticket

The resonating thunder of taiko drums, the precision of traditional Japanese dance and the delicately emotive sound of the Shamisen share the stage when the multigenerational Tsukasa Taiko performs a fascinating and highly entertaining mix of original compositions and arrangements in a broad range of musical styles from ozashiki (geisha chamber music) to minyo (folk music) to ohayashi (classical/folk/theater music) and matsuri taiko (festival taiko music). Joining the 30 members of Chicago’s Taiko Legacy will be San Francisco’s Melody Takata and the GenRyu Arts and three classical music grandmasters from Japan: Chizuru KineyaHyakkyou Fukuhara and Shijuro Tachibana.

Reduction 7 – The Ginten Legacy
Saturday, December 7 | 7:30 pm
Buy Ticket

The sleekness and effervescence of jazz meets the dynamism and boldness of the taiko drum in a concert of unreleased materials from 1970’s original taiko theater – the Gintenkai in Tokyo. Classical masters Hyakkyou Fukuhara (flute/percussion), Chizuru Kineya (shamisen) and Shijuro Tachibana (kabuki dance), will be joined by a critically acclaimed roster of jazz artists including poet and musician Coco Elysses; the fiercely creative jazz/reggae/world music specialist Hamid DrakeJoVia Armstrong, the winner of Black Women in Jazz Awards’ 2014 Best Black Female Percussionist of the Year, and, direct from France, drummer and improviser Yuko Oshima.

Kabuki Music Workshop by: Shijuro Tachibana 
Sunday, December 8 | 5:30 pm 
Buy Ticket

Sunday, December 8, 2019 | 5:30 pm | Limited Seating – register now!

Grandmaster Shijuro Tachibana conducts an interactive Kabuki music workshop giving the audience an opportunity to participate in creating the musical landscape for a traditional Kabuki performance.

Photo credit: Ken Carl

Tsukasa Taiko is a program of Asian Improv aRts Midwest and a resident at Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago and is supported in part by the Illinois Arts Council, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, Corbett, Duncan & Hubly pc, JCCC Foundation, CityArts by City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Cultural Grants Program and The Joyce Foundation.

© 2021 JASC All rights reserved