6th Annual ShastaYama Taiko Festival Features New Directions for Japanese Drumming
In the alpine beauty of Mount Shasta, California, a cultural phenomenon has taken hold. Taiko – Japanese drumming – is gaining popularity worldwide and has found its way to Mount Shasta. Twenty-five years ago, taiko pioneers and musicians Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer founded Shasta Taiko, and their taiko program has had a direct impact on the development of American taiko
In 2005, the first ShastaYama Festival was launched by Shasta Taiko, and this year, on Saturday evening, July 31, the 6th Annual ShastaYama Festival will once again entertain and inspire audiences with a spectacle of Japanese drumming, dance, and music. Last yaar’s event attracted 1,200 concert-goers, who experienced world-class artistry in the dramatic outdoor venue of Mount Shasta’s Shastice Park.
This year’s exciting line-up includes TaikoProject from Los Angeles, who are the first American taiko group to win first place at the Tokyo International Taiko Contest in Japan, and who performed at the 2009 Academy Awards, among many other high-profile projects. Leading taiko artist Masato Baba is returning serving as the Musical Director for TaikoProject and will also perform with Shasta Taiko. Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe, admired for their virtuoso taiko artistry and dancing will once again grace the stage, and completing the program will be the elegant and powerful Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area and the always inspirational Shasta Taiko.
“Organizing ShastaYama takes a lot of time and energy,” says Russel Baba, “but the precious wonderful hours of the festival are magical, making it worth the effort. The audience, artists, and the local organizations, businesses, and volunteers involved are all inspired and uplifted by ShastaYama. Taiko brings people together, and the ShastaYama Festitval merges culture and art with nature, a great formula for growth on many levels. Jeanne and I recognize a special treasure is here to nurture and grow.”
Masato Baba is the son of Jeanne and Russel and also a member of the On Ensemble, ShastaYama 2007 featured guest group.
Michelle Fujii is Artistic Director of Portland Taiko and Toru Watanabe performs with Portland Taiko and with Warabiza, Japan’s foremost folk dance troupe. Masato, Michelle, and Toru are top American taiko artists and inspirational leaders of a new taiko generation.
Shasta Taiko’s members are from the community of Mount Shasta and perform for schools, events, and concerts throughout the western U.S.
“ShastaYama introduces our group and the community to many styles of taiko and music on a scale not often seen even in larger communities,” Mercer said.
Located at the base of Mount Shasta in Shastice Park, ShastaYama is the perfect venue to enjoy an inspirational evening of taiko, music, and dance. “Combining these arts with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Mount Shasta area is a perfect fit,” says Baba.
The gate opens at 5 p.m. Bring a picnic or enjoy the great food and refreshments offered at the food court. Seating is on the grass, and lawn chairs, blankets, and warm clothes and flashlights for after sunset are advised. No pets or glass are allowed in the venue.
Tickets are $25 (age 18 & up), $20 (13-17), $15 (5-12), and free for age 4 and under. Tickets will be available in June 2010 and may be purchased at Village Books and at Soul Connections in Mount Shasta, Yreka Chamber of Commerce, Bogbean Books & Music in Redding, and at the gate. For credit card purchase call 800-926-4865 ext. 203, and online at www.shastayama.org. For more information call (530) 859-8686 or visit www.shastayama.org.
ShastaYama is sponsored by Shasta Taiko / Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, Mt. Shasta Recreation District, and Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce.?
Event Location: Shastice Park, Mt. Shasta, CA
Event Contact Information: (530) 859-8686 or visit www.shastayama.org.