Alison’s taiko projects

I used to run taiko.scot as an online taiko resource for Scotland. I’m no longer actively maintaining the website but you can still visit it using the menu above. For now, I’m using taiko.scot to let people know about the taiko projects I’m currently involved in, which are:

Painted X-Ray:  my main music project just now, a Glasgow-based band with taiko (myself and Georgie White), guitar (Jer Reid), bass (Ali Begbie) and violin (Rafe Fitzpatrick). Skins and strings basically. “A band with taiko at its heart.”

Painted X-Ray
Artwork by Brian Hartley / Still Motion

2taiko: a duo I started with Yumi Célia when we lived in Montréal, Canada. She’s now in France and Japan and we still get together now and again, most recently for La Nuit des Ours festival in the French Alps, playing taiko by a river beneath the mountains and the stars. “It takes two to taiko.”

2taiko in Montreal
2taiko in Montréal, 2012 – photo by Léa Grahovac

Taiko and poetry: a new project, playing taiko with poet and spoken word artist Lisa Fannen. Lisa has recently released an album of recordings of some of the poems from her debut poetry collection, Faultline, with music/soundscapes. I feature on track 11, New Clear, along with guitarist Jer Reid who’s also in Painted X-Ray with me. You can listen to it and/or buy it here (single tracks or the whole album): Faultline on Bandcamp

Aber Taiko: a community taiko drumming group based in Swansea, South Wales, whom I teach and perform with from time to time.

Aber Taiko, Swansea
Aber Taiko with James Barrow at their Swansea Year of Taiko concert in 2017 – photo by Lee Apsland.

Other activities

In recent years, I’ve played taiko with dancers, including Solène Weinachter and Joan Clevillé, which is something I’d love to do more of.

POZA workshop - taiko and dance
POZA workshop, Glasgow, 2016 – Photo by Maria Camila Correa

I also join Tamashii School of Taiko Do at the East City Taiko dojo in London from time to time, practice with members of Aber Taiko and  Taiko Mynydd Du in Wales, and recently did a gig in Cluj, Romania with my old Montreal taiko friend Ignatius Kim (he currently plays as Kidaiko though we used to go by the name of Taikonauts, boldly going where no taiko player has gone before).

with Ignatius Kim in Romania
With Ignatius Kim at Urania Palace, Cluj, Romania, February 2020

I get around…

 

Taiko teaching

I teach taiko and can give group classes and workshops as well as individual lessons. So if you’d like to learn taiko, or are already playing taiko but would like to further your skills, then please get in touch. I’m currently based between Lochinver (north-west Scotland), Glasgow and South Wales and am always happy to add an extra location to my taiko travels.

In terms of my teaching experience, I initially began teaching as a member of Mugenkyo many years ago, assisting with a variety of adult and childrens’ workshops and school shows. A few years ago, after studying with Masaaki Kurumaya-sensei (Mugenkyo’s teacher) in Japan, I took up teaching again. I have since been a regular teacher of Aber Taiko in Swansea and have begun giving workshops to other taiko groups, including Thunder Drummers and Yan Tan Taiko in Cumbria, England, and Druma Daiko on Arran, Scotland. I also recently taught a workshop in north-west Germany to taiko players from Germany, Belgium and Spain, hosted by Silke Hanzen’s TaikoSession, and gave workshops in the French Alps with Yumi Célia as part of La Nuit des Ours festival.

I find teaching is a win-win situation: I love sharing my taiko experiences and discoveries with others and during the process I’m always shown something new and surprising in return. If the people I teach learn as much from me as I learn from them, then we’re onto a good thing 🙂

Thunder Drummers workshop, Windermere, Cumbria, September 2019 – Photo by Dee Swift

email: alison (at) taiko.scot

Alison originally learned taiko in Scotland as a member of Mugenkyo, Europe’s leading taiko group, performing and teaching at theatres, schools and festivals throughout the UK. She’s since played in Canada, the US, and Japan with Yumi Célia as 2taiko, and in Scotland with experimental taiko band Issho (of which she was a founding, if brief, member). She has studied with Masaaki Kurumaya Sensei (Mugenkyo’s teacher and master of the distinctive and dynamic Hokuriku style of taiko) in Fukui, Japan, and Chieko Kojima (Hana Hachijo) is also a big inspiration. She currently plays with Painted X-Ray, a Glasgow band with taiko, guitar, bass and violin, as well as working on projects with poets and other musicians. Alison also teaches taiko, being a regular teacher of Aber Taiko in Swansea and giving workshops to other taiko groups and players in the UK and Europe. She’s currently somewhat nomadic, living between a sailboat in North West Scotland, Glasgow, and South Wales, and is always happy to add another location to her taiko travels. 

A wee interview with myself and Georgie White from Painted X-Ray about playing taiko (filmed and recorded by Meray Diner at GMAC Film, and Stereo, Glasgow, 20th September 2019):

Alison and taiko aboard Ara' Deg
All aboard… (sailing a taiko to the Arctic Circle, summer 2017)