Help TaikoArts Midwest Make Her-story!
Raw and intimate, the HERbeat documentary film follows five female Japanese taiko drumming artists who break from restrictive gender traditions, redefining their power through celebration, defiance, and revolution.
“Women hide their power. They imply power indirectly. Taiko was only performed by men. But you could practice off-stage. For a while, I wanted to quit every day, every day.” — Chieko Kojima
The HERbeat documentary film follows five of the leading female taiko artists in the world: Tiffany Tamaribuchi (CA, USA), Jennifer Weir (MN, USA), Megan Chao Smith (MN, USA), Chieko Kojima (Sado Island, JAPAN), and Kaoly Asano (Tokyo, JAPAN) as they combine forces to create art and defy cultural norms. The first-ever gathering of all-female taiko artists, the launch of HERbeat: Taiko Women All-Stars residency and concert was born. The HERbeat documentary film chronicles the entire process, culminating in a total of 17 female taiko all stars from Japan and North America creating and performing together—in the dead of a Minnesota winter, no less—to create an epic, transformative performance art experience for artists and audiences alike.
Through the HERbeat documentary film, the struggles of these trailblazing and boundless artistic women are shared with the goal of amplifying their thundering heartbeats and rallying cries to join the fight for international gender equality gathering momentum today around the world.
Chieko Kojima, photo by Rich Ryan
HERbeat film shoot, Sado Island, Japan Photo by Keri Pickett
Thanks to the generosity of the global taiko community, principle photography (production) wrapped just before the on-set of the pandemic, culminating in the historic HERbeat: Taiko Women All-Stars sold-out concert at the Ordway in St Paul, MN February 29, 2020.
We now have a rough edit of the film and hope to wrap post-production by the end of this year!
HERbeat All-Stars, photo by Rich Ryan 2020
Your Continued Support is Critical
TaikoArts Midwest is happy to announce that outdoor classes are currently open to students of all levels! While the pandemic significantly impacted TaikoArts Midwest’s capacity to share taiko with the larger community. We are committed to infusing creativity into our taiko drumming and how we share it. For information about classes, please visit our website here.
Become a champion of taiko by donating today!
TAM still needs your help! Please consider a tax-deductible donation to fund the:
- Daily operations amid continuing safety restrictions that affect income otherwise cultivated through classes and performances; and
- Completion of post-production and begin the marketing and distribution phase of the project.
With your continuing support, we will be able to stay open to teach, practice, and create new work and see the film project through to the end. Please join us in introducing the women of taiko to audiences around the world and offering transformative healing through the power and majesty of taiko.
HERbeat All-Stars, photo by Sara Gilbert 2020
OUR MISSION: To develop, produce, and promote artistic excellence in taiko performance, using taiko as a way to strengthen and build community in the Midwest.
TaikoArts Midwest is dedicated to supporting artistic excellence in taiko performance. We celebrate and recognize the full diversity and depth of taiko arts. We provide aspiring taiko drummers opportunities to train and grow while sustaining taiko traditions and encouraging innovation. We understand the challenges and importance of representing Asian arts and artists in our Minnesota landscape. We believe in the emotional, cultural, and physical benefits of teaching taiko, especially in our schools.
Ensō Daiko was founded as Mu Daiko in 1997 by Rick Shiomi. New Artistic Director, Jennifer Weir, renamed it Ensō Daiko in 2017, when TaikoArts Midwest took over the taiko program formerly supported by Mu Performing Arts. Over twenty years, we have built a strong community of artists, students, and enthusiasts. We created a diverse canon of new work and gained a national reputation for a unique visual and theatrical style of performance. We have taught thousands of students in schools and are often an audience’s first introduction to the art form itself.