On October 26th 2016, Bakuhatsu welcomed its newest group of members, Generation XVI, after weeks of them learning taiko and trying out. Most of them had never played taiko before and some didn't even have prior musical experience, but they’ve all worked so hard to make themselves the best taiko players they can be.
Immediately after being accepted, the new generation dove right into practices to improve their form. They also started learning Matsuri Daiko, a festival song known by most North American taiko players, and they created their first solos for the song.
Once they mastered Matsuri, they started learning songs written by Bakuhatsu’s past members. The first was Shio no Michihi, which is one of Bakuhatsu’s more fierce and serious songs and means “the ebb and flow of the tide”. It was written by one of Bakuhatsu's founders, Stacey Clark, in 1999 and is usually one of the first songs new members learn.
Taiko has changed the way I approach new things. I used to be incredibly shy about trying things, but taiko has shown me that some of the most enjoyable times are often outside of your bubble!
In January, GenXVI learned Utage, one of Bakuhatsu’s most well-known songs in the taiko community. It was written by Taiyo Onoda in 2013 and roughly translates to “after party”. It’s a high-energy piece that requires 110% energy throughout the entire six minutes of the song. Knowing how to play energetically along with good form is a key part of Utage and Bakuahtsu in general.
The most recent song the new members learned as a group was Kick-it!, which was written by Jeffrey Suzuki in 2008. It’s a fun, groovy song where the new members got to learn more complex choreography and create more intricate solos.
Joining taiko was probably one of the best decisions of my college career. The dynamic of the group is fabulous and I can't wait to grow more as a performer!
As individuals, each member of GenXVI has been working hard to learn additional songs and instruments. A few have been practicing playing shime to help keep the backbeat in songs returning members will be playing while others have learned additional songs that they will be playing alongside returning members. All of them have learned how to play various auxiliary instruments like hyotan, chappa, and kane, and many of them have also learned how to play odaiko so they can play the backbeat of their graduating mentor’s senior solo. They've even been learning Matsuri on naname (slant) stands.
I was afraid I wasn't going to make any friends and be myself when I first got to Davis, but I'm extremely grateful to have joined BTD since they allow me to do just that. I look forward to each practice even if it's early in the morning or at midnight because all my stress disappears when we start playing taiko together. I never expected taiko to become such a huge part of my first year college experience, but it was one of the best spontaneous decisions I've ever made. LETSU DANSU.
Generation XVI will be performing everything they’ve learned so far at our 6th Annual Showcase on April 29th.
Written by Shai Nielson, BTD Historian 2016-2017