Ensō Daiko is a Minnesota based world class taiko ensemble who delivers loud, energetic performances that combine music, dance, culture, and pure athleticism. Taiko is the Japanese word for drum and refers to the modern style of playing these drums. Wadaiko (in Japan) and kumi daiko (in North America) is movement infused, heart-pounding, dynamic group drumming.
Ensō Daiko uses the art form of taiko to empower and strengthen their local community by enveloping the audience in the experience of power, rhythm and grace. Experiencing a taiko performance has been compared to “feeling the heartbeat of the world” and leaves many touched, moved and inspired as they feel the pounding of the large Japanese drums in their chests during a performance. The group regularly premieres new work adding their unique voice to the expanding canon and innovation of North American taiko. Through performances, studio classes and school residencies, Ensō Daiko has taught thousands of students of all ages and abilities.
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Ensō Daiko takes its name from Ensō, a symbol in Zen Buddhism and Japanese calligraphy which has many meanings:
circle of togetherness
strength, elegance, enlightenment
the moment when the mind is free to let the body create
the acceptance of imperfection as perfect
the void or “mu”
And Daiko, which refers to the form of ensemble taiko drumming more specifically called kumi-daiko (組太鼓 "set of drums").
Ensō Daiko was founded as Mu Daiko in 1997 by Rick Shiomi. New Artistic Director, Jennifer Weir, renamed it Ensō Daiko in 2017, when TaikoArts Midwest took over the taiko program formerly supported by Theater Mu.
This program is a combination of performance, lecture and interactive activities. With an emphasis on individual empowerment and the community building benefits of taiko, the performance is easily adjusted to any age/ability level. Audience members will learn the history & cultural context of taiko drumming in Japan and the United States. They will also learn about taiko drums, how they are made, a general vocabulary for the artform, and kuchishoka - how we say & teach rhythms. Interactive activities, depending on size of audience, can also include Q&A, learning rhythms, trying the drums themselves, and more.
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