The mission of Mountain River Taiko is increasing intercultural awareness by sharing the joy of playing taiko drums. Expanding our understanding of peoples who share our Earth is foundational to living in peace and respect, our highest ideal. Working cooperatively as we learn taiko music and prepare for performance or offer workshops in the community fosters our respect for those with whom we share this dynamic percussive art.
Initially, Mountain River Taiko only played songs from Japan, passed down to us from various taiko teachers. These included the renowned song composed by the grandfather of modern taiko drumming, Oguchi Daihachi, founder of Osuwa Taiko, “Hiryu Sandan Gaeshi,” learned from Annette Kearl, a music therapist who founded the original taiko group in Moab, Utah. Other songs from Japan making up the group’s repertoire include, “Kawamoto,” brought to the USA by Phoenix Taiko Kai player, Rebecca Reimers, with permission of the high school students who taught her during her stint as their English teacher; “Shutsujin,” “Silk Daiko,” and “Hyakunin,” all taught by Esther Vandecar, who had learned and performed taiko while living in Matsuyama and Hiroshima.