Fubuki Daiko tours Montana in October

Japanese drum group melds athleticism, meditation and rhythm during four performances

On Stage

Fubuki Daiko brings powerful Japanese drumming to Montana Sept. 30-Oct. 8 with performances in Paradise, Seeley Lake, Polson and Missoula.

Fubuki Daiko’s core members each have over 25 years of taiko experience.Photo © Grajewski Foto

The Canadian-based group reinvents traditional Japanese drumming with eclectic and energetic performances that are part martial arts athleticism, part meditation, and all rhythm. For more than two decades, they have performed at festivals, concert halls, and schools across North America.

They’ve performed with a wide range of groups including the Winnipeg Singers, Moses Mayes Family Funk Band, the Northern Plains Ballet, and Ron Paley’s Big Band and says these collaborations fuel their pursuit of excellence and innovation in an ancient art form.

In Japanese, taiko literally means “drum,” although the term has also come to connote the art of Japanese drumming, also known as kumi-daiko. Part of the Japanese culture for centuries, it originated in the military arena and was eventually adopted by Japanese Buddhist and Shinto religions as a sacred instrument.

The art of kumi-daiko, performance as an ensemble, was created by Daihachi Oguchi in the 1950s. The jazz drummer discovered an old piece of taiko music and, breaking with tradition, formed a taiko drum ensemble. Now there are over 4,000 taiko ensembles in Japan.

The first North American Taiko group formed in San Francisco in 1968 and has since spread across the U.S. and Canada.

The core members of Fubuki Daiko each have over 25 years of taiko experience and received their formative training from the founder of North American Taiko, Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka. After performing at Carnegie Hall with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo they relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the blessing of their teacher. They have since expanded into the current professional touring ensemble. The group’s self-titled CD received a Prairie Music Award for Outstanding Instrumental Recording.

Fubuki Daiko: The Montana Tour

Paradise: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Paradise Center; tickets are $5-$20.

Seeley Lake: 3 p.m. Oct. 2 at Seeley-Swan High School; tickets are $12-$14 to the first performance in the 2 Valleys Stage series.

Polson: 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at Polson High School Auditorium; tickets to this Mission Valley Live! performance are $15 and free for ages 18 and under (those 12 and under must be accompanied by a ticketed adult).

Missoula: 6 p.m. Oct.  8 at West Side Theater; Tickets are $12-$20 and free for 12 and under.