Alison’s taiko projects

I’m currently using to let people know about the taiko projects I’m currently involved in. I’ve also compiled a Scottish taiko directory and information on the styles of taiko I play and teach.

Update: I haven’t been playing taiko much lately as in 2020 I got a head injury and it has slowed me down a lot. However, I’m on the mend, have started doing some teaching, and hope to start gigging again soon.

Painted X-Ray:  a Glasgow-based band with taiko (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 living in France and we still get together now and again, most recently for La Nuit des Ours festival in the Alps in 2020, 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

With Silke Hanzen and Benni Haas: a new project, improvising and composing together in Germany and Scotland.

Taiko and poetry: with poet and spoken word artist Lisa Fannen. Lisa has released an album of recordings of her poems with music/soundscapes. I feature on track 11, New Clear, along with guitarist Jer Reid.  You can listen to it and/or buy it here: Faultline on Bandcamp

Aber Taiko: a community taiko drumming group 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, play 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. 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 based in Lochinver (in the North West Highlands) but regularly travel around the British Isles and am always happy to add an extra location to my taiko travels.

I initially began teaching as a member of Mugenkyo many years ago, assisting with a variety of adult and childrens’ workshops and school shows. In 2104, after studying with Masaaki Kurumaya-sensei 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 in the UK. I occasionally teach further afield, including in north-west Germany, hosted by Silke Hanzen‘s TaikoSession, and in France with Yumi Célia.

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)

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 mainly plays the Hokuriku style of taiko, which she studied with Mugenkyo and with Masaaki Kurumaya-sensei in Fukui, Japan, and Amanojaku and Chieko Kojima are also big inspirations. 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 lives in Lochinver, in north west Scotland, though is somewhat nomadic, often visiting Glasgow and South Wales, as well as taiko friends in more far-flung places. 

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):

All aboard! Sailing a taiko to the Arctic Circle, summer 2017:

Alison and taiko aboard Ara' Deg


I’m always looking for collaborators, if you fancy a Highland taiko holiday…

Lochinver from the harbour, Quinag in the background
Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland