Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko Drums

Waraku-kai SHOU

Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko Players Association Artistic Director: Shou Tanaka

Founded 1996.
Waraku-kai SHOU was born from a gathering of taiko lovers in Kanagawa Prefecture. The association began with three groups based in Kawasaki, Sagamihara and Kamakura, and today we have about 20 groups based around Kanagawa and nearby Tokyo where some 300 members, aged from 5 to over 70, enjoy taiko drumming. We also have about 20 shamisen players who are rigorously trained by our artistic director, a master of the Kida school of Tsugaru shamisen and holder of the lineage name Rinkosho Kida.

Our main activities are regular practices, concerts, the training camp, performances at local festivals and other events, and recitals. Some of our groups are registered to provide instruction at lifelong learning centers in Kamakura, Yokohama (Sakae Ward), Kawasaki and Sagamihara, and offer volunteer taiko presentations at primary and junior high schools and homes for the aged, and other services.

Our performances consist of shamisen songs based on the Tsugaru folk tradition and original works for taiko ensembles. They feature the full power of the taiko sound from large hira-daiko and ojime-daiko drums.

Our customary summer concert tours of the Tohoku region have built a strong following for Waraku-kai SHOU in northern Japan, especially in Aomori, the original home of Tsugaru shamisen music.

Waraku-kai SHOU performed in Germany as part of a cultural exchange program in August 2002 and 2004.

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