What is Taiko?

Taiko (太鼓) is a form of Japanese drumming. Originally played by one person during ceremonies, taiko was popularized by jazz musicians that played in ensemble called kumi daiko (組太鼓, ‘set of drums’). It was brought to America in 1967 by Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka. Shortly after, he formed the first American taiko group, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, in 1968. Since then, taiko has spread across the country in the form of professional, collegiate, and community groups. Taiko is passed down and taught through oral and visual tradition. Not only is taiko musical, it is also a visual art form as the movements used to play are usually connected to the song itself. 

Our Club

St. Olaf Taiko was founded in 2004, and has always been student led. Our original sensei (teacher) was Iris Shiraishi, current leader of MN taiko group ensemble-MA. We practice on Fridays 5:30-7:30pm and Sundays from 1-3pm in CHM 138/140. First time members are called kohai and learn taiko techniques and songs from our more experienced members, senpai. We typically have a concert every semester, as well as occasional other concerts, field trips, and workshops with experienced Taiko players. Check out our Instagram for taiko updates and our Youtube for videos of performances!

If you are interested in learning more about St. Olaf Taiko, you can contact our president, Adam Martinelli, at martin52@stolaf.edu!

Alyssa Romportl ’23, Madeline Chang ’24, and Sakuya Yang ’25 playing at the 2022 co-curricular fair.

Website by Cates Eliasen ’22 and Alyssa Romportl ’23