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Tao: Seventeen Samurai drumming group event at Harris Center March 19 | Arts & Culture

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Tao: Seventeen Samurai drumming group event at Harris Center March 19
Tao: Seventeen Samurai drumming group event at Harris Center March 19

What: TAO: Seventeen Samurai

When: Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 4 & 8 pm

Where: Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College

10 College Parkway

Folsom, CA 95630

Ticket Price: $25-$45; Premium $49; Children age 12 and under are $20

Tickets are available online at www.HarrisCenter.net or from Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from noon to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time.

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Japan’s sensational taiko drumming performance group TAO comes to the Harris Center for two electrifying performances of their show Seventeen Samurai. “Extraordinarily talented percussion artists and seductive, alluring performers” (Chicago Tribune), the 29-member ensemble rewrites the history of traditional Japanese drumming, fusing the power of the Taiko art form with contemporary staging, lighting and narratives. The results are a dramatic celebration of Japanese culture, with the focus on the immense percussive power of the drum.

Tickets are priced at $25-$45; Premium $49; Children age 12 and under are $20. Tickets are available online at www.harriscenter.net or from the Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from noon to 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. The Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, CA, facing East Bidwell Street

In 2004, TAO (also called DRUM TAO) were all the buzz at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in their first year of attendance. On the heels of that success and three-month-long runs in Germany and Australia, they were invited to perform at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and subsequently sold-out every show on their first North American tour, visiting 44 cities and performing 50 shows throughout the US. Today, over 6 million people in 21 countries have witnessed the groups’s explosive drumming, innovative choreography, and performers’ extraordinary precision, energy and stamina. In the current North American tour of their production entitled Seventeen Samurai, the company combines taiko drumming with martial arts.

Literally, taiko means "fat drum," although there is a vast array of shapes and sizes of taiko. The exact history of Japanese Taiko remains shrouded in speculation, although some educated guesses are possible. The oldest physical evidence of taiko in Japan is a haniwa clay figure of a drummer that dates from the sixth or seventh century. However, since the first instruments in any society tend to be percussion instruments, it would not be out of the question for taiko (as we know them today) to have been used in Japan for well over 2000 years. Reputedly, one of the first uses of taiko was as a battlefield instrument; used to intimidate and scare the enemy – a use to which drums have been put in many cultures. In addition to the martial aspect, taiko have always been used in the most refined cultural settings as well, as with Gagaku music which was introduced to Japan in the Nara period (697-794) along with Buddhism, and was quickly adopted as the imperial court music.

While the Japanese Taiko drum is a simple traditional instrument, it has an immense sound and is an instrument that contains infinite possibilities. Enchanted by this instrument, TAO has worked to free the Taiko from its confines of being the “successor of Japan’s traditional culture” and develop a totally new genre of entertainment.

The company set up a living and training base in a national park at Kyushu’s Kuju Plateau which is considered one of Japan’s most picturesque areas. At the site, they receive inspiration from the rich natural environment that surrounds them, grapple with the meaning of real music, undertake the strenuous training of athletes and continue to produce unique pieces of music that have continually overturned the Japanese image of traditional Taiko. TAO is adored in its home country and has become renowned as “a Japanese Taiko Group with a difference.”

TAO artists constantly train themselves to go beyond human limitation to bring the true Japanese spirit to the stage. They have their own unique style of music, performance, staging, and famously exceed the public’s expectations of Japanese drumming. The Herald exclaims “Supernaturally fit and superbly trained… Stunning…Fully deserving of the standing ovations that the company receives!”

TAO’s performances of Seventeen Samurai kicks off an exciting weekend of family fun in Folsom, followed by the 60th Anniversary Celebration tour of the all-star illusionists show It’s Magic which plays on Sunday, March 20 at 2:00 & 6:00 pm.

Fifth Anniversary Season of Great Shows. Up Close. In Folsom!

Now in its Fifth Anniversary Season, the Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College brings the community together to share in cultural experiences featuring the work of artists from throughout the region and around the world. Built and operated by the Los Rios Community College District, the $50 million, state-of-the-art regional performing arts center boasts three intimate venues with outstanding acoustics, an art gallery, a recording studio, elegant teaching spaces, plenty of safe parking and all the other amenities of a world-class performing arts venue. Each year the Center hosts over 400 events attracting more than 150,000 annually.

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