Learn Japanese Taiko Drumming! 

SohDaiko at ECTC 2019
Soh Daiko performs Hachidan-uchi at East Coast Taiko Conference 2019.

Taiko are the amazing, impressive, and wonderfully powerful heartbeat drums of Japan. Taiko literally means “Big Drum,” but also refers to kumi-daiko, the ensemble group drumming growing in popularity over the last half century. Borrowing on thousands of years of tradition, taiko groups are now taking the style worldwide. Taiko promises to be the first native Japanese music to spread through the world. Taiko has been spreading in North America since its introduction in the 1960s by the “Father of North American Taiko,” Seiichi Tanaka. You may have seen Taiko performed at a Cherry Blossom Festival or an Asian Arts event, or seen the world-renowned Kodso, or the electrifying DrumTAO.

Shangö Percussion had been incorporating Taiko sound into our worldbeat jams up until COVID. It was great fun! We’d like to share with you a taste of this powerful and expressive drum tradition. Shangö Taiko Player & Facilitator Kurt Griffith  has been facilitating the workshops.  He is very interested in cultivating more local Taiko players. More players, more fun, more DON!

Kurt had been periodically offering Open Taiko Workshops in Berkley Springs. We were forced to suspend these in sucessive Coronavirus waves. We've cautiously resumed our drum activities, and we’ve been jamming with Shenandoah Rhythm Jam, workshops have resumed and Shangö Mountain Taiko trains regulalry. Join us!

Shangö Mountain Taiko

Bringing the Heartbeat of Japanese Taiko to the Mountains of Appalachia.

Shango Mountain Taiko - Banner Graphic

We debuted our first Taiko Performance at the Morgan Arts Council’s Cherrry Blossom Event on April 29th, 2023, to tremendous community approval. Since February 2023, we recruited & have been training players to make up the Taiko Team. We have taken up the Group Name Shangö Mountain Taiko [ Shangö Yama Daiko ]. We performed our second event at Bringing in the May 2023, in Berkeley Springs State Park.

After those first events, we choose to continue to practice and play taiko, launching one of the very few (to our knowledge) rural/small town community taiko groups in America! We hope you'll come play with us and expereince Taiko! We are accepting new trainees! We want this delicate cherry bloosom of a group to take root and grow. So please come out to a traning date, or catch us at an event and cheer us on, and we’ll take your information, or sign up using the form below.

It's the best workout you'll ever love.

Shangö Mountain Taiko Training Calendar:

We typically train on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays.

We typically add a extra date or two when we’re prepping for a gig or event.

All are welcome to come train with us! Just show up! – we’ll put you beind a drum. Please join our Mailing List below to get notifications of our schedule and other Taiko news!


Saturday May 18
– 12:00 Noon: Open Drum Circle
– 5:00 PM: Performance Set
Sunday May 19
– 12:00 Noon: Performance & Drum Circle

Berkeley Springs State Park
Berkley Springs, WV
Come jam with us at this fun free event.
Find out more here!

~ A Little Downtime – then back to training! ~

Tuesday, May 28, 6:30-8:00 PM
Back Cat Music Cooperative
155 Independence Street, Corner of Independence & Mercer
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411

~ Planned June Training Dates (check back to confirm) ~

Tuesday, June 11, 6:30-8:00 PM
Back Cat Music Cooperative

Tuesday, June 25, 6:30-8:00 PM
Back Cat Music Cooperative

Five Day Drumming & Dance Retreat at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary.

Wednesday, July 3 - Sunday, July 7, 2024
Sharing the Power of the Drum and the Grace of the Dance with the next generation of Drummers, Dancers, and Teachers. Drum ’N’ Splash is simply a Very Good Time, and a great way to Celebrate an Alternative Nation’s Birthday with Family, Friends and Tribe, with no agenda other than to Drum all Night and Swim all Day, sharing a working vision of the possible through Community, Sustainability, and Personal Responsibility.
Kurt is facilitating the event and providing Taiko Workshops.
Find Our More Here!

Note: Please do not use the MAC Ice House Staff parking lot - except to unload and pack out. Parking is available at the Berkeley Springs Library, and the corner lot at Mercer & Union.

Stay tuned, or drop us an email or join our Email list below for more information, to R.S.V.P., or just to get a head's up! – DON tsuku Don Don!

We’ve been working with the fundamentals of playing taiko in the Naname-uchi and Beta/Tachi styles. The “Say it-Play it” Kuchishoga mnemonic system for learning rhythm patterns. We’ve been learning the basic classic taiko songs Renshu and Matsuri Daiko, a taste of Odaiko style. We’ve started to work with Rome Hamner’s Izakaya Groove and Raku, even a Song to Shangö along with some other fun things, and some surprises - we keep growing!

Loose comfortable clothing suitable for stretching and movement reccomended, comfy shoes, water bottle, a towel.

Stay tuned, or drop us an email or join our Email list for more information, to R.S.V.P., or just to get a head's up! – DON tsuku Don Don!

Subcribe to the Taiko Team Mail List

* indicates required
Only needed in case of need for short notice announements

This list is for notifications and information for organizing Shangö Percussion's Taiko Team. Emails will be exclusively used for group announcements of practice & performance times and dates, taiko information, and learning materials. This list is private and will not be shared with any outside entity. Renshu aimasu! See you at practice

Training Materials & References

Taiko Basics PDF
The basics of Playing Taiko, Taiko Glossary, the taiko kuchishogo mnemonic system, a practice rhythm exercise, Renshu, Miyake, & Ni-Yon Matsuri Daiko.
Download/View PDF

Super-basic Introduction to Taiko video
We recently posted Prelude: Intoduction to Taiko on our YouTube Playlist. This is the instructional content from the Shangö’s Gate Livestream Session from March 29, 2020 – cleaned up and with titles and diagrams added. It is just the barest TASTE of the taiko world. The video includes some background and history of Taiko and the drums, some basics of playing in the naname-uchi style, kuchishoga, and introduces the Taiko songs Renshu, and Matsuri Daiko. Enjoy!

Update – Individual videos have been extracted for Renshu and Matsuri, with run-throughs and kuchishoga diagrams for each line of both songs.

If you want to learn more about Taiko, Visit our Taiko Page

If you are actively studying Taiko, Visit our Member Resources Page for more materials and study aids.

You can also visit our Instructional Videos Page.

Eisa Odaiko & Nagado Chu-Daiko
Shangö’s small 17" Eisa-Odaiko and his “Big Brother”, a 24" OkinawanNagado Chu-daiko.

if you are interested in additional workshops, regular classes in this dynamic and expressive Japanese Drumming art, or joining Shangö Mountain Taiko, please contact us.

Back to the Shangö Mountain Taiko Page

Sessions & Classes

Shangö Taiko Player Kurt Griffith is interested in cultivating more local Taiko players. More players, more fun, more DON! Please contact us if you are interested in workshops or training with Shangö Mountain Taiko in this dynamic and expressive Japanese drumming.

We periodically offer Taiko Workshops  in Berkley Springs. Drop us an email for more information or to get a head's up! DON tsuku Don Don!

We’ve continuted to train after our debut Taiko Performace at the first Morgan Arts Council Cherry Blossom Festival. Please see our Training Session Schedule. If you're interested in participating, please contact us.

Find out more here. Please Email Us or use ourContact Form for more information or with any questions you might have. 

Help Us Out!

Two Taiko Drums
Being a new group, we need pretty much everything, but mostly DRUMS! Taiko Drums are scary expansive, it’ the main barrier to entry for Taiko! Domo arigato gozaimasu for however you can help!

Donate to Shangö Mountain Taiko!

COVID GUIDANCE – The safety of our drum community is always our first priority. We still recommend to please take all appropriate health precautions and practice good hygiene and steps to prevent illness as recommended by the CDC.
If you’ve tested positive, feeling unwell, or need to isolate, no problem! It's absolutely okay to say home and miss one. We certainly understand, and we do want to protect each other. Recover, get healthy, and we’ll see you next time!

Drum safe! Ashé!