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Letters to Kana and Matt, April 23 2013

  • April 24, 2013
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Kana and Matt are two of our original six founders who have picked up and moved to Oregon. They currently play with the legendary and amazing Portland Taiko.

This blog post is a catch up email with Kana and Matt.

Hey y’all ~

Matt was just in town for his grandmother’s bday. While Matt was is town, we got to hang out and talk story and I realized a lot has happened recently and I just wanted to update you guys on recent happenings and catch up with y’all.

Kathy is officially a cancer survivor! In the last few weeks, she’s been hard at work, creating a brand spanking new set of amazing costumes for Korabo. They are reversible and so ornate. The kids are growing like weeds and Rein and Michelle look ridiculous in their old costumes. We keep telling them to stop growing, but they just don’t listen.

May 5, we are performing in the Taste of Asia concert at the Clark County Library theater. We will be sharing the stage with the Okinawan Kenjinkai and Shima Time.

Gene completed his song “Tamonten” and we will learn the whole song after our May 5 concert is done.

Dave has written an entire song called Odaiko and we are working on it for our May 5 concert. This song will be an “odaiko solo marathon piece” with a lead up to a long Kodo-esque solo section.

For this song, we are racing to make a hira-style odaiko. The black walnut body is about 90cm in diameter and about 40cm deep. Dave composed a sketchup of a stand for the taiko and James is executing most of the construction. Kana, if you remember the mechanics of the hiradaiko that Shima Time uses, our hira stand will work similarly, but it will be versatile enough to mount in other ways.

April has been a busy month for us. We performed at Von Tobel Middle School, Sake Fever, and Children’s Fest at Winchester, then we have Golden Week coming up next week.

So what’s going on with you guys? What’s new? How’s your families? What’s new in your taiko life? Kana and Matt, how do you like PT? Kana, how was the snowboarding season? Julie, how is your group coming along? Are you experiencing any growing pains? Have you come up with a name yet?

You guys have probably seen the Amazing Collapsible Okedo project on Facebook. Dave’s portion of the project — the body — came out really well. Dave turned the body on what was once the lathe we purchased from Keith, the big green monster. Dave gradually changed out the lathe parts to adapt it to what we needed. Today, it has none of the original parts. The very first time we turned the lathe on with the collapsible shell, it was frightening. The body was so unbalanced, the lathe started hopping. Dave has since improved his methods to balance the next shells better. The hira we’re currently working on (90cm diameter) turned beautifully. In fact, Dave just finished the body and put some kan in it. It looks so awesome. We should be heading on Friday and doing the second head on Monday. SO AMAZING!

Dave has also been working with Palo Verde High School. The band director, Cara, asked Dave to put together some hack taiko (including an immense okedo) and a song for some band event. When the band event was done, Cara wanted to something more with the hack drums, so Dave started teaching them Omiyage. During the teaching-learning process, the Palo kids started busting through the heads (Remo bass drum heads), so we started loaning them Korabo drums. The Palo group that learned Omiyage kept advancing to more and more competitions and made it all the way to Command Performance, apparently a quite prestigious competition to which bands come far and wide. Command Performance was the only time I got to see them perform on stage. It was held at UNLV’s Ham Hall and it sounded amazing. I went with Mom and we got there pretty late, so I ONLY got to see Palo perform (they went on as the very last performer) and they received a very long standing ovation. They were awesome.

Here’s a recording they had to submit for one of the competitions.

Matt, I hope you had a safe trip back home.

Still miss you guys …

Con todo mi aloha,