Review of Crooked Lines (March 2016)
I have been attending the Taiko troupe’s performances since its earliest incarnation in the 1990s. I have witnessed its members come and go and come, as the group shed skin again and again, born anew, ever reincarnating. Regardless of its various forms and members, I have always been humbled to witness their rage – a rage at its most vulnerable, most raw and most beautiful in their power.
What happens at a RAW Taiko performance? There is the simplicity of the act – a gesture of arm and hand and stick across the taunt skin of a barrel. A gentle caress at one moment and a thunderous power the next. To see women who look like me, share something of what I know deeply in my body, is a powerful experience, one that leaves me full and electric.
The drums take all of what the performers release and offer back a language to articulate the joy, sorrow, rage, celebration, what is possible, what has not been but can be. In other words, the drums tell stories, awaken history; stir our lives from their uneasy places. The drums call us back to memory, memories that reach beyond us to face generations of women, ghosts that came before, invited by the drums to dance.
I am often in tears after a performance, overwhelmed emotions and an experience that haven’t yet found words and can only be told through movement, beats, grace. The drums give. It’s a gift, and I leave in gratitude, walking out of a theatre, dispersed in a crowd, meeting the eyes of strangers with a strange new knowing.
Author of The Wondrous Woo
Dyke March 2013 Global TV (June 29, 2013)
Echo, Sun TV (December 17, 2005)
CBC News at Six, CBC Television (March 2, 2006)
Asian Inspiration, Rogers Television (October 11, 2007)
Canoe Live, Sun TV (October 17, 2007)
Timeless Magazine, Fairchild TV (February 13, 2008)
Breakfast Television, Citytv (February 12, 2009)
Metro Morning, CBC Radio (March 2, 2006)
Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers at Betty Oliphant Theatre (review of From Rage Comes), NOW magazine (Dec 2013)
“Asian collective drums up common bond,” Toronto Star (August 15, 2007)
‘Water warriors’ recruited,” Mississauga.com (March 9, 2010)
Asian Women Kiss Ass: A Study of Gender Issues in Canadian by Kim Noriko Kobayashi (2006)