Quiet library, loud performance
Usual whispers of, "Shhh, this is a library," won't be heard over Portland's traditional Japanese drum and dance ensemble, Tako Q, at libraries across Washington County this summer.
"We're ready to bring in a little noise and a lot of fun," said Yumi Torimaru, founder and artistic director of Tako Q.
Tako Q established kids' shows for Washington County and Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Services earlier this year, with local performances from late June through July.
Regular library visitors may be surprised to hear powerful drumming and vocals sweeping through the normally hushed environment. Tako Q performances, though usually small in size, still include giant, traditional Taiko drums, bamboo flutes, the shamisen (three string instrument), dancing and storytelling.
Who/What: Japanese Drum and Dance: Takohachi's Q-ensemble
When: Wednesday, June 19, at 2 p.m.
Where: Hillsboro Public Library - Shute Park, 775 S.E. 10th Ave.
When: Saturday, June 22, at 1 p.m.
Where: Hillsboro Public Library - Brookwood, 2850 N.E. Brookwood Parkway
When: Tuesday, June 25, at 11 a.m.
Where: Forest Grove City Library, 2114 Pacific Ave.
"These shows in particular were made to be silly and fun for the kids, while also expressing the essence of Japan and its culture," Torimaru said. "We'll be exploring traditional Japanese morals like the importance of appreciation as well."
Performances done by Tako Q often include a combination of new and old. Torimaru herself continues to take classes from a traditional shamisen drum master, but says she also finds joy in creating new original songs. Half of the songs performed at the libraries this summer will be from her own imagination.
"Our group practices the Confucius proverb of 'Onkochishin,' which means developing new ideas based on the study of the past," Torimaru said. "So all our performers try to keep learning and creating new songs, dances and stories for our audiences based on more traditional Taiko."
Tako Q, a smaller ensemble part of the larger Takohachi nonprofit organization, was launched in 2017 by Torimaru. She hopes the group can provide more intimate and customized performances that allow for them to meet the community and introduce their knowledge of Japanese culture.
"I'm originally from Japan, but I've been here for 23 years," Torimaru said. "This is my home now, but I have a deep desire to share my roots with everyone through this art."
Entertainment provided by Tako Q is part of Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) Summer Reading program, bringing performers to visit each of their member libraries.
Kids signed up for Summer Reading can enjoy other fun activities including a comedy show with Angel Ocasio and bilingual music with Nathalia. Teens with the program will also have a chance to hop in a game truck set up for laser tag and giant Jenga.
More details on all of these activities can be found on WCCLS's website at wccls.org/srp/kids2019.
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