Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Dec 19th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Beat Happening

ae watsonvilletaikoThird Friday lets kids interact with Watsonville Taiko’s thunderous drumming

California’s current drought crisis might seem like unlikely subject matter for the ancient art of Japanese drumming. But Watsonville Taiko artistic director Ikuyo Conant chose Tolstoy’s folktale “The Big Dipper” as a basis for their latest production precisely because the story takes place in a severe drought. With a combination of storytelling, prop-making and getting the children to interact directly with the performers, she saw it as a good way to entertain while also educating. 

The production is part of Santa Cruz’s third Friday, and it won’t just be a drum performance (taiko, which literally means “big drum,” is known for its thunderous sound). The group will expand their performance; there will a narrator, and kids will act, make sound effects and participate in every level of the production.

“It’s nothing like anything we’ve ever done before, and it’s wonderful that we’re having this opportunity working with the museum. It’s been interesting,” says community performer Joyce Smith.

In the story, a young girl sets out to find water for her mother in the midst of a drought. She takes a wooden dipper with her and lets it collect dew. Instead of drinking it herself, she lets others drink from it first. When she does, it first turns to silver, then gold, and finally into the constellation in the sky.

“The moral is, if you help somebody, something valuable appears,” Conant says.

Watsonville Taiko’s adaptation has the same basic story, but is set in California, with our native animals as part of the cast—the very animals that are being affected by the drought. The takeaway is that self-sacrifice is the value we need right now to deal with our own crisis.

The group would like kids to really get in and participate. Starting at 4:45 p.m., there will be a workshop where they can make fish, noisemakers, background props, or be cast in the production. At 5:45 p.m., they will do a rehearsal, and at 6:20 p.m., Taiko performs for the public. Participation is open to anyone, including adults, but it’s kids they are gearing the workshops for.

“Children like storytelling. Children should be able to be part of the process of learning, and be a part of the community. That’s what I stress. Not just being the audience, but being a part of the process,” Conant says.

Even people that just show up at 6:20 p.m. to watch the production will still have an interactive role.

“Everybody will be part of it. The audience will be doing the sounds of the wind. The sounds that will represent the drought, they will be drumming, being the coyotes, all these different sounds, using percussion instruments and hand movements. It’s not going to be Taiko up there doing a show, it’s going to be a story that involves the entire community,” says Smith.

As for the actual drumming, the most traditional piece will be at the very beginning of the production, before the actual story has begun.
“Taiko has a lot of different interpretations. It can be a musical experience, it can be a meditation tool,” Conant says. “Often they use it to gather people. It’s so noisy and loud, so people notice, ‘something is happening, let’s go.’ It’s a tool that brings people together.”


Watsonville Taiko will perform at 5.p.m. on Third Friday, Aug.15, at the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz. $5. The Taiko performance outside will be free.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire