TAIKOPROJECT Hosts Taiko Nation Percussion Concert, 7/19 - 7/20

TAIKOPROJECT Hosts Taiko Nation Percussion Concert, 7/19 - 7/20

Thrilling, heart pounding and joyous percussion are the hallmark of taiko, and the best is in store when the world's top taiko ensembles and performers converge on L.A.'s Little Tokyo for an exhilarating three-concert event. Taiko Nation is set to electrify audiences July 19 and July 20 at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre.

According to mythology, taiko music was created when a Shinto goddess emptied out a barrel of sake and jumped on the barrel's head, stomping on it furiously to create compelling, percussive rhythms in her attempt to entice the goddess of sunlight from a cave where she had hidden. The other gods could not help but join in, dancing and singing joyously, and Amaterasu brought her light back to the world.

Los Angeles-based TAIKOPROJECT has been dazzling audiences with its unique contemporary blend of taiko, storytelling, music and choreography since its founding in 2000, performing in commercials, on TV and alongside musical superstars such as Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Usher, John Legend and Justin Bieber. This summer, in association with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Southern California Taiko Community, TAIKOPROJECT, brings together over 500 participants from taiko groups throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia for the inaugural World Taiko Gathering. Activities will include three days of workshops, discussion sessions, taiko performances, and community-building activities, highlighted by the Taiko Nation three-concert series on Saturday and Sunday.

"It's going to be amazing - and loud," laughs project coordinator Masato Baba, "It will be the first time so many taiko players from all over the world will be together in one place."

Taiko Nation will include performances by TAIKOPROJECT (Los Angeles); Chieko Kojima and Eiichi Saito (KODO); Kaoru Watanabe (Sado, Japan); TaikOz (Sydney, Australia); Kagemusha Taiko (Exeter, U.K.); Taro Kobayashi (Tokyo, Japan); Sen-Rai (Sendai, Japan); and the "father of American taiko," NEA Heritage Fellow Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka (San Francisco). These luminary drummers will share the stage for the first time, performing on the world's largest drums and harnessing their collective passion and energy as one "Taiko Nation." In addition to this stellar line-up, surprise guest performers will take to the stage for a bombastic opening collaboration and a spectacular closing finale.

Taiko Nation takes place on Saturday, July 19 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 (balcony) and $35 (orchestra). The Aratani/Japan America Theatre is located at 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 (in Little Tokyo). For more information and to purchase tickets, call 213-628-2725 or go to www.jaccc.org.