It was not easy.
After spending my last semester of college researching The Genki Spark, I was deeply touched by Karen’s tireless passion for taiko players to understand the inseparability of taiko with community. Inspired by Karen’s wonderful work, I was curious to see how taiko players can deepen their ties to one another and the world they exist in. In taking on this project, I wanted to highlight the importance of taiko and community—the work that Karen roots herself in—and build upon the website that she, Yidan, and Marley had tirelessly worked on. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of North American Taiko, we hoped to feature a variety of groups, projects, and events that are embracing taiko and community.
This endeavor was far from easy, as Karen and I came across the following questions: What ultimately is taiko and community? How do different taiko players and groups define community? How do taiko players about, build, and sustain community? We wanted to create a website that would be easy for curious taiko players to navigate the multitude of resources it offers. Yet, we were concerned about categorization, ensuring that we must strongly refrain from simplifying incredible community efforts in lieu of a “user-friendly” interface. Both taiko and community are multifaceted and complex, and all of the projects we include in this website are impossible to label in monolithic ways. Perhaps it is these indescribable, uncategorizable aspects of the art form that makes each of these incredible people, events, and projects—as well as the greater taiko community—all the more special.
So long as the taiko community continues to grow, this website will continue to be a work in progress. We hope you can join us in building the Taiko and Community project, as well as enhancing this resource. We also hope this website and its these resources will spur greater thought—not only about how we can continue to build community, but also how we can help the taiko community to flourish within the art form for the decades to come.
Lina Lalwani, June 2019, Artist in Residence