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January 18, 2005 > Taiko Drum Crab Feast

Taiko Drum Crab Feast

by Lance Dwyer

Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church (SACBC) will be holding its annual Crab Feast on Saturday Jan. 22 in conjunction with O Nami Taiko, a Union City-based Taiko organization bringing Japanese culture to the Tri-City area. The event will consist of consist of cocktails, dinner, a raffle and performances by O Nami Taiko.

Taiko is a Japanese art form centered around the music created from the taiko drum. The taiko drum has had many uses historically in Japan, from religious ceremonies to harvesting rituals and eventually as a musical accompaniment.

Although when used in musical performances the drum typically was only a background instrument. Grand Master Oguchi Daihachi brought the taiko drum and its drummer to the center stage in the 1930s. Taiko is able to comprehensively contain all of the elements of a musical composition, including rhythm, backbeat and bass, according to O Nami Taiko's website. The overall result is an entertaining and lively performance art with drummers performing in perfect synchronized dance.

Union City's taiko group began in 1997 when Rev. Ken Tannaka, SACBC's minister at the time felt that taiko would be an effective way to bring the traditions of Buddhism as well as the Japanese culture to the Tri-City area. The group originally began with the church's youth community, consisting of an initial six members. Today O Nami, meaning big wave in Japanese, is made up of 20 members of all ages. In addition to making several performances throughout the year, the group also teaches beginners classes with a minimum of a 12-week curriculum.

The annual Crab Feast will take place at 32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City. Tickets are $30 for adults and free for children younger than 7. For more information refer to their website at

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