DETAIL

Base Country
Japan

Performance Locations
Japan
Europe
North America

Genre
Taiko Drum Ensemble

Instruments
Taiko Drum, Bamboo Flute

Performance Available
Festivals
Full Length Concerts
Collaborations with:
-  Symphony Orchestra
-  Dance
-  other music

Repertoire
A full range of both original and traditional repertoire

Category
Drum Entertainment

Address
3598 Misajiro, Matsuo, Iida City Nagano Prefecture 395-0826 (postcode)

Telephone
+81 (0) 265-59-8768

PDF Download
8 page Brochure

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REVIEWS
From The Audience (2013-2014):

“Tokara has created the jazziest most exciting style of Taiko Music you will ever have experienced”
- Exeter Barnfield Theatre (Devon Life Magazine)

“This was a fantastic show - a rare chance to experience excellent taiko in an intimate space. The performers have a wonderful and beautiful energy - you will feel uplifted to have experienced their love for and dedication to their art form. I loved their intricate rhythms and fusing of different styles and was blown away by their musicianship and energy. If you've never seen anyone play the big odaiko drum before, don't miss this.”
- Helen Price

“If you go to one show make it this one. Exciting, dynamic, energetic. The performers give it their absolute all. We were transfixed throughout. If they are back next year so will we be.”
- Donald Graham

“Taiko drumming at its most skilful. The expertise, commitment, sensitivity, musicality and raucous enthusiasm of Tokara is an inspiration to anyone who has every tried to master an instrument. But then, Art Lee is widely acknowledged as the grand master of taiko, need I say more? Go whilst you have the opportunity to see them, you will leave inspired.”
- Anna Jones

“ Joy, power, speed, discipline, emotion, talent...
Heart pumping, floor shaking, mesmeric drumming!
 All performed by Tokara, a Japanese based multicultural Taiko drumming group... 
awesome.... 
and for the grand climax, you can dance, clap, jump around, take photos and be a part of the experience...”
- Clare McIntyre


Newspaper Reviews:
“Music is made into martial art by Wadaiko Tokara, here all the way from Japan. Sharp and swift as swordsmen, this renowned, ethnically diverse group master breath-taking force and graceful beauty. Moments of intense focus merge into outbursts of joy, bringing an original beat to the ancient Japanese discipline of taiko drumming. With expert precision, and including informative, friendly explanation, the famous performer Art Lee and his fellows also seize the chance to have some fun. The imagination is transported away from the grey skies of Edinburgh; the eyes are opened to the versatility of percussion. With your seat shaking, your heart reverberating, you’ll enjoy it just as much as the artists themselves. Visually enthralling, culturally enlightening, musically invigorating. Five Stars.”
- Three Weeks Review (Kazakoshi World Tour - Scotland 2013)


PERFORMANCE VIDEO





IMAGES
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HIGHLIGHTS

2013 - 2014
  • Collaboration with Okanagan Symphony Orchestra - Canada
  • Workshop leader and performance at ECTC Conference - U.S.
  • "1,001 Buddhas" Music compose and performance debut in Collaboration with Ragamala Dance
  • Japan Taiko Representatives at the Japan Cultural Week in Poznan, Poland and Bern, Switzerland
  • Performance at the largest arts festival in Belgium, Odegand
  • 43 concert tour Kazakoshi World Tour - Europe
  • Kazakoshi Japan Tour 20 concert national tour
  • Reached mark of 500 school performances

2011 - 2012
  • Hirugami no Hibiki One month concert run in Hirugami Hot Spring Resort
  • Europe Tour in Germany, Belgium, Spain and Holland
  • Tenchi Shinmei DVD release
  • Japan Taiko Representatives at the Japan Cultural Week in Valencia, Spain
  • Toward the Undiscovered Country CD release
  • India Delhi Performance for Maruti Suzuki Motors
  • Concert and Educational Outreach in Vancouver, Canada and Minnesota, U.S.
  • Tenchi Shinmei Japan Tour
  • 41 concerts at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • Tenchi Shinmei concert and workshop tour in United Kingdom and Ireland
  • Japan Taiko Representatives at the Germany/Japan Friendship Exhibition Week in Frankfurt, Germany

2009 - 2010
  • "Sva" World Tour collaboration with Ragamala Dance - North America, United Kingdom, Japan
  • Two weeks of 12 performances at the 42nd Street Theater Off Broadway New York
  • One month 30 concerts - Tokara Summer Festival Showcase "Hirugami no Hibiki"
  • India Tour - Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Mumbai
  • Asano Taiko 400th Anniversary Concert performance
  • "Tengei" - Tokara collaboration with Ensemble Rivelta (Bamboo Flute and Koto group) Japan Tour
  • "Kougeki Junrei" - Art Lee selected as one of three "Masters of the Odaiko" Japan Tour Concerts

2007 - 2008
  • Kansai Super Show - Tokyo Dome, Japan (Art Lee selected as one of five Odaiko Drum Leaders)
  • Art Lee receives award from the American Composers Forum for composition of music for "Sva"
  • Art Lee selected to perform at the "All-Stars of Japan" Taiko concert at Aoyama Gekijyo in Tokyo
  • Tokara performs at the Takayama City All-Japan Championship Wadaiko Concert
  • Japan Representative Group at World Drum and Dance Festival in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Australia Performances for Year 2006 Australia/Japan Friendship
  • Zenkoji Temple Performance with Jazz group, Histrad

COMMISSIONED WORKS
  • "1001 Buddhas": Debut 2013 at the Cowles Center for Performing Arts in Minneapolis, MN.
      Commissioned by Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy for collaboration between Wadaiko TOKARA (Japan),
      Rajna and Anjna Swaminathan, (U.S.A.), Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan (India), and Ragamala Dance (U.S.A.)
  • "Fukuro (The Owl)": 2008 Commissioned by Hokkaido, Japan Taiko Group, Kurisaku Shimafukurou, as their
      signature performance piece at all concerts for 2008 and 2009.
  • "Sva (Vital Force)": Debut 2008 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN.
      Commissioned by Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy for collaboration between Ragamala Dance (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
      and Wadaiko Ensemble TOKARA (Iida City, Japan).
  • "Kagiri": 2007 Full Concert Composition for concert tour collaboration with Shakuhachi and Koto Ensemble Rivelta.
  • "EXISTENSION": Title work composed for collaboration with Electone Performer Katsumi Otsuka. Japan Concert Tour.
  • Art Lee has also composed numerous pieces for Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara for performances tours
      with the titles of: "Michi no Sekai E" and "Tenchi Shinmei".

TELEVISION APPEARANCES AND DOCUMENTARIES
  • 2004- Japan National Television - "Waratte Koraete"

  • 2012 - NHK World Television - "Japanology"

  • 2013 - Asahi National Television - "Kanjani no Shiwake"


Wadaiko TOKARA Office
831-1 Kega, Iida City, Nagano Prefecture Japan  TEL: (81)265-59-8768   Email: info@tokara.net