Minnesota Sounds and Voices reporter Dan Olson recently spent some time with the Mu Daiko drummers and artistic director, Iris Shiraishi, during rehearsals as they prepare for their 15th anniversary tour.
Shiraishi says the ensemble’s big drum is made from recycled California wine barrels, and its modern sound can be traced to a Japanese soldier and jazz drummer who picked up taiko after World War II.
The tradition migrated to Minnesota in 1997 when Rick Shiomi created Mu Daiko. Hawaiian native Shiraishi, who played French horn in high school, then studied music at the University of Iowa and University of Minnesota, started studying taiko with Mu Daiko that same year.
Watch them pound out a powerful rehearsal in the video below, and listen to Dan Olson’s report by clicking on the audio link above.