Beat It, Japanese Style

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By the end of today's Taiko Workshop for Beginners, Yukiko Ebara will have taught her students a dizzying display of leaps and spins to perform when they're not relentlessly pounding on handmade drums. "You'll learn basic drumming techniques with a very simple drill," says Ebara, coordinator of the Oberlin-based Icho Daiko drum club. Taiko — Japanese for "drum" — was founded in Tokyo during the 1950s for religious ceremonies and theater performances. Since then, taiko clubs have popped up in the U.S. to bridge the gap between Japanese immigrants and American culture. At the end of today's workshop, participants will make their own drums from empty wine and whiskey barrels. "It's pretty smelly with old Jim Beam," laughs Ebara. "If you enjoy the smell, you'll enjoy the club."
Second Saturday of every month, 3-5 p.m., 2006

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