What is Taiko?
Taiko (太鼓, literally “big drum”) is a type of Japanese percussion that has been played for well over 1,000 years. Traditionally, taiko were used in religious ceremonies, festivals, and as theatrical accompaniment. Kumi-daiko, or ensemble drumming, was created in the 1950s. In kumi-daiko, many drummers play different-sized drums to create complex rhythms and stylized performances. This style of taiko drumming has become extremely popular and taiko groups have formed all across the world.
Music For Peace
OMNY Taiko’s mission is to create community and strengthen the spirit through the art of taiko drumming.
The sound of the taiko drum is as pure and as fundamental as the heartbeat and has the power to connect ourselves with those around us and with the universe at large. As such, we seek to develop our abilities as taiko players—rhythm, movement, teamwork, and spirit—and to promote taiko drumming through performances in the New York area and beyond.
One Miracle in New York
OMNY, which stands for “One Miracle in New York,” was founded by Shumei, a Japanese spiritual organization, in 2006 as an initiative to engage Shumei youth. Initially, starting a taiko group in New York City seemed unrealistic for many reasons, including the high cost of drums and the lack of an affordable practice space. However, a small miracle occurred—a couple generously allowed us to practice in their garage. There we hit tires, fashioned into makeshift “drums,” to practice the songs taught to us by our teacher, Koji Nakamura Sensei, during his visits to the East Coast. Through perseverance and the generosity of the community, more miracles occurred—we were eventually able to purchase several drums and rent practice space in a school auditorium in Lower Manhattan, and OMNY Taiko was born!
In 2011, under the direction of leaders Linda and Tony Tan, OMNY Taiko expanded from a Shumei youth initiative into an independent community taiko group. We began to offer introductory classes and recruited many new performing members from diverse backgrounds. We added new pieces to our repertoire and experimented with more complex arrangements and even composition. OMNY also began highly productive collaborations with Takajum Indian Dance Academy, classical music ensemble The Silk Worms, and shakuhachi player Marco Burmester. Linda and Tony stepped down from leadership in 2016, and the group is now led by Creative Director Crystal Lau, with support from instructors JJ DelSerra and Eyal Bar-David.
OMNY has performed extensively throughout the greater New York area, including at our annual 4th of July concerts in the Catskills (at the Orpheum Theater and Windham Civic Center), Baruch College, AIDS Walk New York, and the EmCon Anime Festival in East Meadow. We have also performed in Washington D.C. at the Prayer Vigil for the Earth, in Los Angeles with our sister group Makoto Taiko, and in Japan with Wadaiko Kokubu.
We hope the sound of taiko drumming will resonate within your heart as it does within ours.
Thanks to your support throughout the years, we are able to to provide low-cost and free workshops and performances for the community. We are so grateful to be able to share our passion with you.
- Our Volunteers – We couldn’t have made it this far without the people who have volunteered and supported us since our inception. Our first drums were loaned to us by the Catskills Foundation and our first practice space was a garage loaned to us by a couple living in Brooklyn. Thanks to the generosity of so many people, we now have our own drums and our own practice space! There are countless people who have volunteered their time and energy to helping us grow over the years, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
- Our Players – What started as three kids and a car tire “drum” has grown into a full group with many members of all ages and backgrounds. Our members, past and present, have truly become a family.
- The Community – We have received an unbelievable amount of support and love from those who have attended our concerts, workshops, and classes. You are the reason we keep striving and moving forward. It is the greatest honor and joy for us to be able to share our music and passion with the world.