About St. Olaf Taiko

We are St. Olaf Taiko!

St. Olaf Taiko performs classic and student-composed repertoire with energy and enthusiasm. We have always been a student-led ensemble since our start in 2004. Our first time members, kohai, learn taiko techniques and songs from our more experienced members, senpai. We present a concert once every semester, as well as occasional additional concerts, field trips, and workshops with experienced Taiko players.

Our original sensei (teacher), Iris Shiraishi, is the current leader of Minnesota taiko group ensemble-MA.

We practice on Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. in CHM 138/140.

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 who played in ensembles called kumidaiko (組太鼓, ‘set of drums’). Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka brought this art form to America in 1967 and shortly after 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. Not only is taiko musical, it is also a visual art form as the movements used to play are connected to the songs themselves. Taiko players pass down and teach through oral, visual, and kinesthetic practices and traditions.

Read more about our instruments here.


Check out our Instagram for taiko updates and our Youtube for videos of performances!


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