By Bob Hicks
Hard to believe, but here it is late September and already Portland’s fall arts season is in full swing. Somehow things snuck up on Mr. Scatter (he knows he should say “sneaked up,” except he prefers the ancient and slightly disreputable “snuck”), and now he must do some serious catching up.
Some cool-looking things he sees on the near horizon:
TAIKO UNLEASHED and ROMP STOMP BOOM! A little bit of modern-music history storms the Newmark Theatre stage Saturday and Sunday when Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka and San Francisco Taiko Dojo join Portland Taiko for PT’s fall concerts. In American taiko circles, this is a little like having Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton dropping by a modern jazz club for a jam: just how cool can these original stick-swinging cats be?
In a sense, Tanaka is the father of North American taiko (the contemporary, ensemble approach to the ancient Japanese drumming traces only to 1959 in Japan), and over the years since the young postwar immigrant founded it in 1968, San Francisco Taiko Dojo has gained near-legendary status. Stylistically and inspirationally, Tanaka and his group have been key players in the extraordinary spread of modern taiko across North America.
The players of Portland Taiko, one of America’s handful of professional ensembles, are no slouches, either. (Mr. Scatter likes Portland Taiko so much, he’s on its board.) Wear your raincoats: this could be a tsunami of sound. 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3; shorter family matinee Romp Stomp Boom! at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.