Japanese Drumming

Smokin’ Bachi Taiko

The Spirit of Taiko

Genre: Other

Website Email: jwbachi@gmail.com

Contact: Jon Whitsell at 505-470-8554


Smokin’ Bachi Taiko. Our name is inspired by the quick and energized movements of Japanese taiko drumming. The idea being that our "bachi," or drumsticks, would move so fast they would begin to smoke.  SBT brings the art of taiko through performances, regular drumming classes, and special occasional workshops with taiko masters. Japanese taiko drumming is a unique and demanding style of percussion.


         In essence, taiko is a music martial art. It is rooted in the ancient spiritual and festival musics of Japan.  However, SBT practices Kumi Daiko. This is ensemble drumming with arrangements choreographed for stage presentation. Kumi Daiko is the form most known around the world. The concept of group drumming on stage before an audience is a post WWII phenomenon. It is a vibrant art which is growing and changing with its international popularity.


         Regional venues have seen SBT at the Madrid Gypsy Festival, International Night at Albuquerque’s  Sizzlin’ Summerfest, Santa Fe’s  Peace Day celebrations,  All Species Day, Crestone Music Festival,  Santa Fe JIN Matsuri, Aki Matsuri Japan Festival in Albuquerque, Santa Fe’s Fiestas, The National Conference on the Family in Stress and Crisis, The Santa Fe Complex, The Museum of International Folk Art, TV Turn Off Week, The Harwood Museum in Taos, The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Kohnami Restaurant, Santa Fe Children’s Museum, and the world famous think tank at the Santa Fe Institute. SBT is repeatedly asked to perform at the regional AKKA (Kenpo Karate) tournaments and awards ceremonies.


         SBT has performed for Hope Howse International in their prison outreach program. Elementary school students, such as those in Los Alamos, NM, respond enthusiastically to our performances and workshops.


         The City of Santa Fe marked its 400th anniversary in 2009 with a series of events that included an SBT concert.  SBT also performed at the Santa Fe Bandstand series.


         Santa Fe is involved in the Sister City International program. Our Sister City in Japan is Tsuyama. In collaboration with many local groups, an SBT show was streamed to Tsuyama in November 2009.