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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tracing the development of Kumi-Daiko in Canada Kobayashi, Kim

Abstract

This thesis is a survey of the development and dissemination of kumi-daiko ensembles in Canada, with the focus on their membership, gender, drums and repertoire, and links to the Japanese Canadian community. A case study of the group Katari Taiko's formative stage is presented to highlight key issues that confronted kumi-daiko ensembles in the past. With the emergence of exclusive groups in the form of pan-Asian, all-women kumi-daiko organizations, an inspection of Katari Taiko's prominent female representation highlights gender and feminist issues and the reconfiguring of gender constructs and portrayals. I will argue that these exclusive female spaces offer a refuge for queer members as well as an avenue to express their sexual identity through creative and artistic means. This discussion is complemented by an organological overview of drum construction, general taiko drum taxonomy, and an update on contemporary taiko drum manufacturing which includes a socio-historical portrait of the Burakumin (Japan's exclusive traditional drum makers) and North American taiko drummers who are forced out of necessity to become ingenious drum makers. This thesis concludes with the referencing of traditional Japanese music in the kumi-daiko repertoire as discussed by prominent drummers and ensembles followed by an analysis of Seiichi Tanaka's piece "Matsuri" in the context of its different renditions by Canadian kumi-daiko ensembles.

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