St. Louis Osuwa Taiko studies, develops, promotes, performs and
teaches taiko, the art of Japanese ensemble drumming. In doing so,
the group helps preserve and contribute to the art while bringing
enjoyment to the community and fostering an understanding between
Japanese and American cultures.
Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi formed the original Osuwa Daiko
in Suwa, Japan, in 1951. In 1986, Oguchi-sensei visited St. Louis
(sister city of Suwa) to found St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. A year later, he
donated drums. St. Louis Osuwa Taiko started out as a kids' group
but has evolved to a nonprofit organization devoted to sharing taiko
throughout Missouri and elsewhere through year-round performances,
workshops and classes for children, adults, and seniors.
We also continue to build on our ties to Osuwa Daiko. We visited
Suwa, Japan, in 2009 to play and study taiko and hosted Osuwa Daiko
for a joint show in 2011 in St. Louis to celebrate the 25th anniversary
of St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. We believe in preserving and fostering our
sister-city relationship with Osuwa Daiko and Suwa, Japan, and acting
as cultural ambassadors by introducing new audiences to taiko.
Our largest show each year is at the Japanese Festival at the Missouri
Botanical Garden on Labor Day weekend. Thousands attend the
festival, which has fun activities for all ages, including the Dashi
procession, where children pull our Dashi, or portable drum stage on
wheels, through the garden.
Andrew started 1998-09-01
Andrew began playing taiko in 1998 with St. Louis Osuwa Taiko under the tutelage of Joe Kimura. He took over as a director of the group in 2001 and has been playing ever since. He has taken workshops with all the big names: Taiko Center of the Pacific, TAIKOPROJECT, San Jose Taiko, Kaoru Watanabe of Kodo, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and many more.
Andrew has written five and a half original taiko pieces for St. Louis Osuwa Taiko: Kaifuu, Juugoya, Sumo in St. Louis, Rhythm Sandwich, Ibuki, and Sen no Kodama. Hopefully many more are to come.
In addition to taiko, Andrew likes to mess around with the doumbek, Jew's harp, didgeridoo, and clarinet... sometimes with Mosaic, a Turkish-themed band. His other interests include Argentine tango, yoga, table tennis, snow skiing, linguistics, Japanese calligraphy, and wishing he had time to do more of that stuff.
Helena started 2004-12-14
Helena started playing taiko in her sophomore year in college at WashU. She started music and performing when she was a small child and enjoys taiko for its dynamics and intensity. She spends her non-taiko time writing software, making jewelry and clothing, and being a huge nerd.
Eddie started 2006-12-19
Eddie loves playing taiko and loves his taiko family.
Eddie Joined SLOT in 2006 as a performing member. In 2013 he and his family moved to Singapore and played casual taiko there. In 2017 he moved back to and got right back into the mix. Eddie enjoys the fully body workout taiko can give you and all of the tremendous opportunity it provides.
Since joining taiko, he's grown as a person and is a lot more outgoing in general.
Life without taiko would be pretty dull. And quiet.
Jason started 2009-12-14
Jason has been playing Taiko since 2009, and percussion since 1996. His favorite songs include Juugoya, Sumo, and Tsurugi.
Hitomi started 2010-12-21
In 2010 Hitomi moved to St. Louis from Japan and is currently teaching Japanese.
Growing up, she always dreamt of learning taiko, and she even grew up near a taiko shop. It wasn't until she moved to St. Louis that she was able to achieve that dream.
Her life in St. Louis is much different from her life in Tokyo, but she is adjusting and having a lot of fun. She now considers St. Louis as her second hometown. Her driving skills are improving everyday as are her taiko skills.
Jeremy started 2010-12-21
Jeremy has been drumming since 1995 and was a practitioner of Okinawan martial arts from 1992 until 2002. He has attended the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden numerous times while growing up, and it was during the festival, in 1995, that he was first exposed to Taiko drumming when San Jose Taiko came to perform. Coincidentally, this was around the time he began to learn Western drumming, so Taiko left an immediate impression on him. His interest in martial arts also contributed to his fascination with Taiko. Fifteen years later, Jeremy finally decided to give Taiko a try in 2010 when beginner classes were announced during a St. Louis Osuwa Taiko performance. He's been hooked ever since!
Theresa started 2012-10-02
Having admired St. Louis Osuwa Taiko at the Japanese Festival for many years, Theresa finally worked up the courage to take the Beginners class in the Fall of 2011. She was hooked on taiko from the very first lesson. After spending a year with the Community Group, Theresa became a full-fledged performance group member! Her previous musical background was limited to relatively immobile instruments - piano and voice - so she finds that it has been a challenge making the switch to the physical and percussive demands of taiko. Outside of taiko, Theresa enjoys quieter activities such as digital scrapbooking, nature photography, cooking, satisfying her sweet tooth, and getting lost in a good book.
Joel started 2012-10-02
Joel's adventures in percussion began in high school when some friends needed a drummer and he had access to a drum set. In college, he began studying Chinese martial arts which led to performing in lion dance troupes. Joel has performed in lions, choreographed dances, and composed and played percussion pieces. Through the years he could hear the Siren of taiko beckoning, and after a year in the community group, became a performance group member. Joel loves the blend of physical and mental discipline that taiko requires, the cohesiveness between players formed by kumi-daiko and the emotional spectrum that can be created.
Jack started 2015-04-03
Heather started 2015-04-03
Heather first experienced taiko in 2012 and was immediately hooked by the energy and excitement. After about a year in the Community Group, she joined the performing group and is loving it! Outside of taiko, Heather enjoys hiking and bicycling, photography and cooking tasty food.
Mana started 2015-11-05
Mana is from Hong Kong and Japan. She started playing Taiko with Gendo Taiko at Brown University in 2006. During her first two years, she played a lot of Miyake and Yatai-bayashi. As a result, these two songs still have a very special place in her heart. Before moving to Saint Louis, she performed with O•Daiko, an all-female Taiko ensemble in Hong Kong. Mana loves Taiko for its visceral intensity, and its ability to bring together eclectic personalities to form tight lively communities. She also loves delicious foods, science writing (fiction and non-fiction), camping, plant ecology, and East Asian prehistory - most of which are part of her profession in some form or another.
Katie started 2016-01-01
Katie first learned about taiko while practicing Shinkendo, a Japanese sword martial art, in her native Iowa. It wasn’t until she moved to St. Louis, however, that she experienced taiko live for the first time at the Japanese Festival. The energy of the show was so infectious that she knew she had to try it! She signed up for St. Louis Osuwa Taiko’s beginner’s class in summer of 2014 and the rest is history. Katie’s other musical pursuits include singing, clarinet, and pretending to play tenor sax. She also enjoys reading, watching TV, doing cross-stitch, bar trivia nights, and spending time with her two cats.
Rieko started 2018-01-21