Taiko

One of the noisiest clubs on campus — setting off car alarms in the lowest levels of Pangea every Friday night — Taiko has been drumming up fanfare across San Diego since its beginnings in 2002.

“It’s not really a competition or anything — it’s just getting together, hanging out, playing drums, being really loud and getting food after,” Taiko Director of External Affairs Mark Takesuye said.

The club is made up of around 25 members — almost all of whom play multiple instruments: including the barrel-sized chu-daiko drum, the snare-like shime-daiko (a double-sided snare drum) and a variety of other metal percussion instruments.

According to Takesuye, all the club’s drums have been passed down from past generations.

“The original people were playing on phone books for a couple — I want to say a year and a half,” Takesuye said. “They played with just phone books and chairs while they were making their drums.”

On top of the inherited relics, the team makes new drums by stretching cowhide across wine barrels they’ve taken apart and truncated.

Though Taiko drumming first began as a village alarm system in ancient Japan, it morphed into more of a performance once it caught on in the states.

Every year the club hosts month-long tryouts at the beginning of Fall Quarter for anyone interested in practicing with existing members and learning the basics; auditions are held soon after. This year, Taiko accepted eight new members.

Although the club runs a tight shift — practicing two or three times a week or more if there’s an upcoming performance — Takesuye decribes it as a laid-back, almost athletic musical experience that makes sure to enjoy itself all the while.

“It’s a really friendly community — a big community when we all meet up together,” Takesuye said. “We all just hang out and have a good time.”

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