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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Odaiko New England to bring taiko drumming to URI, Oct. 2

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KINGSTON, R.I.--September 15, 2009--If you have rhythm and apparently everyone does, you’re in for a treat on Friday, Oct. 2 when Odaiko New England will perform at the University of Rhode Island.

The concert, free and open to the public, will be held in Edwards Auditorium, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. performance. Pangaea: The URI Roots Music Series sponsors the program.

The group’s artistic director Mark H. Rooney told The Epoch Times: “If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm.”

People’s natural affinity to drums throughout history can help explain why Odaiko New England, often referred to by its acronym ONE, has attracted large audiences throughout the region since it was formed 15 years ago. The ensemble’s moving and drumming in unison creates a sensation that can be felt as much as seen and heard.

ONE, the largest taiko drumming ensemble in southern New England, is based in Woburn, Mass. “Taiko” is the Japanese word for drum, but it is also used in America to describe the art form of Japanese-style ensemble drumming. In Japan, the sounds of taiko are infused into various aspects of daily life, from Shinto and Buddhist rituals to festivals. The taiko is said to be the voice and spirit of the Japanese.

ONE aims to make taiko a familiar art form for American audiences, thereby encouraging a greater appreciation and understanding of Asian American cultures.

“Odaiko, ONE, really rocks the house with its energy and pulls the audience along with it,” said Michael Lapointe who organizes the annual series. “This is the first group to be invited back three times in Pangaea’s dozen year history. The ensemble never disappoints.”

Pangaea is a branch of URI’s Department of Housing and Residential Life. Its events are coordinated to coincide with the University’s Diversity Week Celebration. Questions can be directed to Lapointe at 401.837.3921.