Touzan Taiko drums up a ‘Kintsugi’ concert

The Touzan Taiko group brought bold rhythm and contagious energy to the Cal Poly Pomona campus on Saturday night for its fourth annual spring concert. 

The theme for the concert was “Kintsugi,” or “golden joinery.” 

The term refers to the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics or pottery with lacquer and powdered metals, such as platinum, silver or gold. 

This year’s theme, along with the rest of the program, was created by fourth-year biotechnology student and creative director of Touzan Taiko Lauren Lee. 

“I wanted to showcase that nothing is perfect, but that you can still see or make beautiful things,” Lee said.

“Kintsugi” or “golden joinery” refers to the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics with precious metals. (Ashly Hernandez | The Poly Post)

Lee also stated that prior themes related to spring, but she wanted to have a more personal message. 

Touzan Taiko’s 21 members all put their faith in Lee to guide them into performing their best. 

The newest generation of taiko players are known as Generation XI. Lee is a member of Generation IX. 

Lee’s goal is to see the players progress, and ultimately decide where they belong in the show. 

The night consisted of laughter at the expense of puns involving taiko humor and little skits performed in order to entertain the audience while the crew set up for the next song. 

One such performance was the set called “Jello.” 

It featured a slide whistle and other random inclusions that kinesiology student and external director Gabriel Romero found pride and humor in. 

The whole set was improvised and confirms Romero’s passion for being part of the taiko group. 

“I am able to vibe with people and feel that through how they play,” Romero said. “This group is not afraid to try something and if someone asks me to play with [them], I’ll play with [them].” 

The Nikkei Student Union was invited to perform their Yosakoi, a Japanese dance usually performed at festivals. 

Following the dance was the set called “Matsuri,” which is Japanese for “festival.”

One song, “Henji,” which means “to reply” or “to answer,” was written and composed by creative director Lee. 

It is stated in the group’s bylaws that each creative director must compose a new set or rearrange an existing one. Following “Henji” was the group’s slideshow. 

The video featured photos and Snapchat videos of the members in practice or hanging out. The final set, “Yabai,” closed out the night. 

The group’s love for performing was enhanced by its beautiful backgrounds, its choreography and its support system. 

This concert almost filled the University Theatre with family, friends and percussion enthusiasts to witness the power, or “chikara,” of Touzan Taiko. 

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