DENVER TAIKO, founded in 1976, is a nonprofit organization comprised mostly of third, fourth and fifth generation Japanese Americans honoring our cultural heritage through the exhilarating performance art of taiko. Our group ranges from energetic and talented teens to accomplished veterans who have performed with Denver Taiko nearly from its inception.
Early inspiration for our founding members came through a visit to Denver by Sensei Seiichi Tanaka, the taiko master who brought this art form to the United States by way of San Francisco. He is considered to be the Father of Taiko in North America and now there are hundreds of taiko groups scattered throughout the United States and Canada.
The workshop conducted by Sensei Tanaka in 1976 gave our founding members a deep appreciation for the history of the art and the fundamentals of its performance. These and later members have continued to expand their experiences in taiko over the years through participation in workshops and visits with sister groups in Japan and the U.S.
In keeping with the tradition of the music, Denver Taiko has become known for its own unique performance style and personality. We have become an important part of Colorado and the West's cultural landscape, playing at concerts, festivals and diversity celebrations throughout the region. The group was honored in 2001 by Denver's Mayor Wellington Webb when we received the Mayor's annual award for Excellence in the Arts.
In the summer of 2003, the Japanese Consulate sponsored a 3-week workshop for the group in Denver by the famous taiko master, Sensei Yoichi Watanabe, leader of the group Amanojaku out of Tokyo, Japan. He was assisted by his prize student and protege, Isaku Kageyama, himself a national taiko champion in Japan. The close, personal attention our members received from these brilliant artists and teachers instilled in the entire group an even deeper appreciation, knowledge and mastery of this craft.
In 2011, Denver Taiko applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status to further extend our mission as a grassroots performance arts organization. In addition, we celebrated our 35th Anniversary concert at the University of Denver and also released our 2nd CD titled "Tabi - Journey".
We hope to see you at any of our upcoming performances and we hope to inspire you with the energy and emotion of the taiko.
Junior Denver Taiko
The Junior Denver Taiko Group was formed in the 1980's for the purpose of passing on this Japanese tradition to the younger generations. Since then, the group has grown to around 30 members and many of the older kids join the adult group after training with the Junior group.
Junior Denver Taiko spans from ages 8 to 18. There are four levels and all groups practice every Sunday after services at the Denver Buddhist Temple.