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In Japanese “Taiko” means the “great drum.” For generations, the method of taiko playing has been taught and passed on by grand masters. In varying shapes and sizes, taiko drums have long been a part of Japanese cultural, religious, and musical traditions. The art of taiko drumming is known for its tightly choreographed movements similar to martial arts. The instrument’s fluid, powerful, and rhythmic playing style symbolizes the heartbeat of Japan. With the emergence of art forms such as Noh and Kabuki dance-drama, taiko drums eventually became an accompanying instrument in theatre and court music. The Buddhist and Shinto religions gave taiko drums a sanctifying role. Taiko drumming is also an integral part of Matsuri festivals in Japan, where communities celebrate the gods and honour their ancestors. There are now over 8,000 taiko groups in Japan, more than a dozen groups in Canada, and many more worldwide. Let's enjoy a synchronized drumming performance by Kokyo Taiko.