Shangö Mountain Taiko

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

SMT Performs at Shango Matsuri, April 2024.
SMT Members and Trainees performing at Shangö Matsuri, our 1st Anniversary Celebration, April 2024.

The Heartbeat Drums of Japan

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 Kodo, the electrifying DrumTAO or our regional Taiko groups Miyake Taiko, The Mark H Taiko Connection (MHTX), Nen Daiko, or Pittsburgh Taiko.

Learn more about Japanese Taiko Drumning on The Taiko Page.

Shangö Percussion had been incorporating Taiko sound into our worldbeat jams during the later years before COVID, and it‘s been great fun! We’d like to share with you this powerful and expressive drum tradition. Shangö Taiko Player & Facilitator Kurt Griffith is very comitted to 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're cautiously restarting our drum activities, and we’ve been jamming with Shenandoah Rhythm Jam.

Shangö Mountain Taiko’s Founding Members pose after our debut at MAC Sakura Matsuri event.

We debuted our first Taiko Performance at the Morgan Arts Council’s Cherrry Blossom Festival 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 ]. which references our Mountain Town and honors the lineage of the original world percussion group, Shangö Percussion. We performed our second event at Bringing in the May 2023, in Berkeley Springs State Park.

in July of 2023 we performed at the World Association of Marching Show Bands 2023 Championship in Buckhannon, WV It was our first road trip, first steet festival, first Parade, and first time on a float - and we had a blast! Our thanks to the organizers for the invitation, and to WV Wesleyan College for their hospitality.

We chose to continue to practice and play taiko beyond our debut MAC event into the future, launching one of the very few (to our knowledge) rural/small town community taiko groups in America! We are hoping this delicate cherry blossom of a group will take root and grow.

In April 2024, we celebrated our First Anniversary with Shangö Matsuri, part performance / part party with a small, but entusiastic and appeciative house. We debuted our current traniees, two new songs, and our new-to-us O-Daiko! It was an absolute blast! we plan to keep thumping on for another year - and beyond! Gambatte!.

We hope you'll come play with us and expereince the profound heartbeat of Japanese Taiko!

Our gratitude for the support of the Morgan Arts Council, Black Cat Music Cooperative, Taiko Community Alliance, and Fantastic Realities Studio. Special thanks goes out to Bobby Seigetsu Avstreih for dropping that first pebble. Domo Arigato Gozaimashita!

SMT Performs at Bringing in the May 2023.
Shangö Mountain Taiko performing at Bringing in the May, Berkeley Springs, WV.

Learn Japanese Taiko Drumming! 

We are accepting new trainees! We’re looking for people who are interesed in learning Taiko and perhaps joining the Taiko Team - no experience required!!! - just enthusiasim and willingness to practice and study - and sweat a little! So please come out to a traning date, try out a workshop, or catch us at an event and and cheer us on, and we’ll take your information, or sign up using the form below.

At our current size, the main requirement for Membership is mostly showing up, and practicing!

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

We have been working with the fundamentals of playing taiko in the Naname-uchi and Betta/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, exploring the Odaiko style. We’re starting to learn Raku and Rome Hammner’s Izakaya Grove, along with other fun things, and some surprises from time to time.

For sessions, we reccommend wearing Loose comfortable clothing suitable for stretching and movement, comfy shoes, water bottle, a towel.

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!

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

Help Us Out!

Shangö’s small 17" Eisa-Odaiko and his “Big Brother”, an 21" Okinawan Nagado Chu-Daiko.

As a new, small community Taiko group in a small, rural Applaachian town, we pretty much need... well, everything. But mostly we need more drums! Taiko Drums are scary expensive; it is the main barrier to entry for Taiko players and Taiko Groups! However you can help is very much appreciated!

We’re launching a new Fundraising Campaign this year with Taiko Community Alliance to apply for a grant to buy more drums, but we have to raise some of the money ourselves! Tasukete kudasai!

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu!

Donate to Shangö Mountain Taiko!

Click here for Training & Reference Materials, Docs & Audio Files

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

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.

Help Us Out!

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

Donate to Shangö Mountain Taiko!

COVID-19 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! Yassai!