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Crossing East: Shasta Taiko

From: Dmae Roberts
Series: Crossing East - Asian American History series
Length: 04:58

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A 1st Person profile of Russel Baba and Jeannie Aiko Mercer of Shasta Taiko

Jeanbigdrumsm2_small Shasta Taiko's Russel Baba and Jeannie Aiko Mercer Taiko drummers find a sense of strength and a melding of Japanese history and culture with American realities through drumming. They studied Taiko during the tumultuous 1970's and found it a way to bring out their own personal voice and strengths. The two founded Shasta Taiko in 1985 and are respected and recognized artists in traditional and contemporary Taiko, new music, and jazz. They have toured throughout the country and around the world and teach Taiko to all. For them Taiko is a political act of resistance as well as an artform. This five-minute feature is part of the Crossing East Asian American History series. It is an evergreen, self-contained module with intro and outro/credits.

Piece Description

Shasta Taiko's Russel Baba and Jeannie Aiko Mercer Taiko drummers find a sense of strength and a melding of Japanese history and culture with American realities through drumming. They studied Taiko during the tumultuous 1970's and found it a way to bring out their own personal voice and strengths. The two founded Shasta Taiko in 1985 and are respected and recognized artists in traditional and contemporary Taiko, new music, and jazz. They have toured throughout the country and around the world and teach Taiko to all. For them Taiko is a political act of resistance as well as an artform. This five-minute feature is part of the Crossing East Asian American History series. It is an evergreen, self-contained module with intro and outro/credits.

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Review of Crossing East: Shasta Taiko

This is an interesting piece about the roots of an ancient Japanese music in America -- including the important cultural milleu that spawned it and how it's grown up. The music underneath is great and you get a real sense of the important mission for the players and how the music becomes fills a cultural need for those who hear it. This piece would fit well dropped into ATC or ME, or anywhere a good music piece is desired.

Broadcast History

Produced as newsfill as part of the Crossing East Asian American History series. Only stations that didn't run NPR news aired this feature.

Transcript

Shasta Taiko Piece
Hour Four ? Exclusion & Resistance
Time: 4:30

HOST: I?M DMR WITH THE CROSSING EAST MUSIC FEATURE.

In Japanese Taiko means ?Big Drum.?

MUSIC ? SLOW DRUM ?

HOST: Taiko is also the name for Japanese drum ensembles all over the world. In North America, there are more than 150 Taiko groups and growing. The birth of North American Taiko came in the politically charged time year of 1968. The same year, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated Seichi Tanaka banged the Big Drum in San Francisco and started the American Taiko movement. Jeannie Aiko Mercer and Russel Baba of Shasta Taiko met each other while studying with Tanaka. They were instantly hooked and now have their own Taiko group in in Mt Shasta in California.

JEANNIE: I had moved to San Francisco from Anchorage Alaska in about 1969. It was very thrilling because I?d never seen a Ja...
Read the full transcript

Related Website

http://crossingeast.org