Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan

Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan

Davis, California, United States

Founded 2001

Basic Information

    university
    University of California, Davis
    consensus
    social

Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Bakuhatsu's mission is to promote awareness and appreciation of Japanes Culture throughout our community and its surrounding areas. By teaching and performing, they hope to bring the energy and beauty of taiko to those who have not yet had the opportunity see it.
The word "Bakuhatsu" translates as "explosion," expressing the high energy of the group's performers on stage. In every performance, the individual members push themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually in order to share the primal energy of taiko with the audience.
Bakuhatsu strives to teach the energy, respect, tradition, discipline, art, and music of taiko to its beginning members and to improve and reinforce them for its senior performers. They try to acheive this goal through playing taiko, building taiko drums, and conducting themselves professionally and respectfully during every performance and practice.

Structure and Philosophy
Describe the ensemble's organizational structure and philosophy, including leadership structure, membership policy, and instructional process.

Bakuhatsu is a student-run club at the University of California, Davis. The group welcomes both beginning and experienced players regardless of race, gender, or musical experience. Members are students attending the University of California, Davis and are required to pay a small fee for each quarter of instruction.
Instruction is also conducted by students; those who have had the most taiko experience and show the most dedication to the organization and its goals instruct the other members. Practices are held Wednesdays and Sundays on the university's campus for an official total of five hours per week, although they often run longer than scheduled. Because membership changes constantly due to graduating students leaving and new students entering, practices are divided into segments of different levels ranging from beginning to advanced.

Group History
Describe how, where, and why the ensemble was founded. What was its inspiration?

Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan was founded by John Shinozaki and Stacey Clark in 2001. John was a freshman when he decided to establish a Taiko club at UC Davis. He only had two years of Taiko experience and one pair of bachi to begin with. John named the club Bakuhatsu, which means "explosion" to symbolize his enthusiasm for the ancient art form.

List of Founding Members

John Shinozaki
Stacey Clark

List of Current Members

Gary Wong
Libby Landin
Kevin Nii
Mike Nguyen
Jill Kitaura
Aiko Enoki
Gina Gonella
Helen Cunningham
Howard Calkin
Jenna Avila
Mike Yost

Membership Composition
(i.e. ethnicity, generation, average years of experience, musical backgrounds, and motivation for playing)

Bakuhatsu's members are students of the University of California, Davis of a myriad of ethnicities. Most members have mixed heritage and include Chinese/Japanese students, Japanese students, Mexican American students, Caucasian students, Middle Eastern students, and many other ethnicities.
Only four of the current members have taiko experience outside of Bakuhatsu, but others have had musical backgrounds. Bakuhatsu members have experience with western drums, the piccolo, piano, singing, and trumpets.
Motivations for playing include connecting with one's heritage, broadening cultural horizons, participating in a group activity, expanding musical ability, personal growth, and performing.

Community
Description of the group's community - regional, ethnic, social, etc.

The permanent residents of Davis are primarily Caucasian. During the school year, however, people with Asian/Pacific Islander descent comprise the majority of inhabitants. The Davis community has active Catholic, Chrisitan, Jehova's Witness, and Islamic communities.

Biggest Changes
Describe two of the biggest changes that have characterized the group's development since its founding

One of the largest changes Bakuhatsu has undergone since its founding is the loss of its founding members. In the Spring of 2004, Stacey Clark graduated and John Shinozaki left to study in Japan. In that same year, two of the other experienced performing members also left the group to graduate or to start new lives. Bakuhatsu went from seven experienced performers to just three in a single year. The group lost not only talent, but resources and knowledge regarding the construction of the taiko drums.
The following year, Gary Wong assumed leadership of Bakuhatsu. His unyielding drive and commitment to taiko transformed the identity of the group. He brought a thirst for perfection to both the beginners and the advanced performers and taught everyone the true meaning of professionalism. He also created and taught his own form of notation for the group's songs so that all members could practice at home and review before coming to group practices.
In addition to changing the direction and attitude of Bakuhatsu, the loss of most of the group's experienced performers brought the entire group closer together. It challenged intermediate players to improve at a more rapid pace in order to maintain the quality of the stage show and unified the group by brining everyone closer to the same level.
Another momentous change for Bakuhatsu occurred when they were told that the agricultural warehouse in which practices were conducted could no longer be open to them for storage and practice. For many of them, it had a great deal of sentimental value as a sanctuary from school and a place to practice the art they love. Leaving proved a difficult and emotional task, but positive developments would soon follow.
After a peformance which numerous university faculty and administrators attended, Bakuhatsu was offered storage and practice space in the dance studio of the ARC, the recreation facility at the University of Califoria, Davis. Now, in a completely different setting which offers the advantages of wall-sized mirrors to correct form and presentation, the group is creating new routines and new memories in its new location.

Performances, Recordings, Publications

Performances
List a selection of your regular performance venues (for example, Denver Sakura Matsuri, Seabrook obon, business conventions, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Maui Marathon, etc.)

Picnic Day, University of California, Davis
Asian Pacific Culture Night, University of California, Davis
Whole Earth Festival
Morgan Hill Taiko Festival
Aikido Institute of Davis
Florin Taiko Festival
Intercollegiate Taiko Conference

Instructors, Teachers & Mentors
List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

Judy Sakaki, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Sensei Scott Miashiro, Suisun Valley Taiko

Taiko Collaborators
List a selection of taiko players or groups that have collaborated with the ensemble.

Suisun Valley Taiko Group

Non-Taiko Collaborators
List a selection of non-taiko players or groups that have collaborated with the ensemble.

Ill-Literacy

Audio & Video Recordings
List a selection of publicly accessible audio and/or video recordings featuring the ensemble.

Video footage of Bakuhatsu can be viewed on the group's website, www.bakuhatsutaikodan.org

Signature Works
Please include title, composer, date of composition, special reason(s) for composition, and what the work represents to the group.

Title: Renshu Daiko
About this Song: This is a piece that almost every beginning taiko player learns because it is a basic song which contains all of the different basic taiko hits. Bakuhatsu's beginning members perfom this song to gain experience playing taiko on stage.

Title: Iwai (Celebration)
Composer: Jay Yamanaga
About the Song: Iwai is a fun, high energy song full of spirit and enjoyment. This song was composed to reflect the Bakuhatsu's love of taiko and to share their joy with an audience.

Title: Inu Shobu
Composer: Stacey Clark
About the Song: Inu is a powerfully intense piece in which each player has a featured solo. This piece is designd to reveal the way the individual styles and energies of each player combine to make a cohesive group.

Title: Shio no Michihi
Composer: Stacey Clark
About the Song: The performers in this song represent the waves of the ocean crashing against the shore. There are three different groups and the song progresses throughout these groups until they all come together only to dissolve into different waves again.

Title: Okiteiru Yume (Waking Dream)
Composer: Libby Landin
About the Song: This song has a slow rhythm and soothing beats that express the feeling one experiences coming out of the dream state. Shorter than the rest, it was written as a transition song to create a more dynamic overall performance.

Title: Yatai Bayashi
About the Song: This is a traditional Japanese festival piece. "Yatai" is the cart, which is pulled through the streets at the japanese festivals. The intense physical strain of and complicated beats of this song demonstrate the power of taiko.



Contact

Gary Wong
garwong@ucdavis.edu
http://www.bakuhatsutaikodan.org/

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