Tamashii Daiko – infecting the city and surrounding areas

Alex, Ursula’s taiko teacher from Germany came to help us prepare for Tamashii Daiko’s 2nd Summer Party. While training with the visiting expert, I felt infused with energy and respect. For this woman did for our pieces what punctuation does for writing – you know, a comma here, a full stop there… Amazing what a difference a loud note in the right place can make, or a few fast notes in the ground rhythm and, of all things, silence! Not to mention dramatic gestures and shouts from the belly!

I would like to boast that she took my taiko to a new level, but I seem to be more aware of how much I still have to learn. 🙂

Of course, we blew the socks of our audience with our last number at the Summer Party when we played Kazan in the dark with glow-in-the-dark bachis. We hit the bachis beforehand so that the room was pitch black when the lights went out. Children and the young-at-heart “ooh-ed” and “aah-ed” when we took out the coloured bachis. It really was amazing. And I thought we were quite professional because we managed not to hit ourselves or our colleagues during the performance in the dark.

Yesterday morning we performed at Cape Town’s station on a stage constructed of recycled materials as part of the Infecting the City Festival. The stage was quite sturdy, made up of blocks of crushed cool drink cans. The floor was rather slippery, though. (Before, I wondered why we sometimes did balancing exercises in our training sessions. Now I know!) The floor was so slippery that Alex had to pull back the shime with her right leg while playing; balancing on the left leg…

The background of the stage consisted of plastic bags (and smelling mostly of fish). Even though we expected most people would be in a hurry to get to work, some did go out of their way to come and look at us.

I had my first experience of letting my bachi fly during a performance, as well as totally forgetting where I was in the piece. I thought I was in the flow of things: I looked at the audience, looked them in the eye, smiled, and then promptly lost track of what came next.

You might have heard of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihályi’s ideas on flow: a special state of mind in which there is total absorption for a period of time in a given activity?

Philip Zambardo and John Boyd discuss a few characteristics of flow in The Time Paradox. I felt the following four sufficiently covered what I understood under flow:

  • You don’t feel self-conscious – your action and your awareness merges.
  • There is a balance between your ability level and how much of a challenge it is.
  • You have a sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
  • The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.

Well, turns out my flow needs some more preparation, repetition and work! 😉


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ria
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 01:10:24

    Thanks for describing everything so colorful… I could feel the emotions you were going trough… wish I could have been there…


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