Arkansas State University


Markham Howe
Sara McNeil
Gina Bowman

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3693

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

ASU's Fowler Center Series opens 2009-10 season with San Jose Taiko Sept. 25

August 25, 2009 --  The Fowler Center Series opens its 2009-10 season in Riceland Hall on Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by San Jose Taiko. Fowler Center is located at 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro.

San Jose Taiko has mesmerized audiences and critics with the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of the taiko drums for three decades. Inspired by traditionalSan Jose Taiko mesmerizes audiences with powerful, spellbinding, propulsive sounds of the taiko drums. Japanese drumming, company performers express the beauty and harmony of the human spirit through the voice of the taiko as they strive to create new dimensions in movement and music.

Founded in 1973 by young Asian Americans searching for an artistic and musical outlet to convey their unique experiences as third-generation Japanese Americans. San Jose Taiko looked to Japan for inspiration and selected the symbolic taiko as their instrument of expression.

As a symbol, taiko holds much of the essence and spirit of Japan, replete with continued possibilities, renewal, and transformation. Its origins were found in the daily life of the common people. Priests used taiko to dispel evil spirits and insects from the rice fields; samurai used taiko to instill fear in the enemy and courage in themselves; and the peasants used taiko in their prayers for rain, in festivals, and in thanksgiving for bountiful harvests. The traditional practice and performance of taiko requires dedication, physical endurance, harmony, and a collective spirit.

San Jose Taiko has taken this essence and this voice of the traditional taiko and infused it with the vitality and freshness of the American spirit, creating a dynamic and compelling new Asian American art form. The artists use the power and beauty of taiko to transcend cultural barriers and foster a greater understanding of Japanese American culture. Taiko is so deeply a part of the traditions of the Japanese and the Shinto and Buddhist religions that it is considered to be both the essence and the heartbeat of the Japanese spirit.

Under the artistic direction of founder Roy Hirabayashi and musical director P. J. Hirabayashi, performance and expression are predicated upon a profound respect for each member of the company. Rehearsal and performance require physical endurance, and both running and exercise are required of company members during practice. Composing, choreographing, designing and creating costumes, and handcrafting drums are also part of the holistic process in which all members participate; many of the performance compositions are written or arranged by company members. Through a singleness of mind and spirit, harmony is achieved and the music rings with unity and clarity.

By studying with masters of other traditions and cultures, San Jose Taiko musicians have broadened and embellished this historical art form. Their style joins the traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms, including African, Balinese, Brazilian, Latin, and jazz percussion. The sound is contemporary, exciting, new and innovative, bridging many styles, while still resonant of the Asian soul in America. Company members also study traditional and contemporary dance with leading international choreographers. All of San Jose Taiko's performances are fully choreographed, theatrically lit extravaganzas of musical sound.

Recognized for its artistic and managerial excellence, San Jose Taiko received both Advancement and Challenge Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Chevron Award for Excellence, and a grant from the Knight Foundation. The California Arts Council and the Arts Council Silicon Valley have honored the company with commendations for community leadership in fostering cultural and ethnic diversity in the arts.

Ticket prices are $30 and $20 for adults; $24 and $16 for ASU faculty and staff; $23 and $15 for senior adults and K-12 students; and $10 and $6 for ASU students.

Tickets for all Fowler Center Series events may be purchased by calling (870) 972-2781 or 1-888-278-3267. Purchase tickets online at On performance evenings, the box office in Fowler Center opens one hour prior to the event.

Visit Fowler Center on the Web  for additional information about the performance by San Jose Taiko, or call Fowler Center at (870) 972-3471. Visit San Jose Taiko for more information about the group, its members, and its music, including an audio gallery of sample audio clips.

 # # #


  NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |