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Local Groups Share Taiko Drum Heritage

February 03, 1989|GAIL S. TAGASHIRA

And six adults and seven children who are members of Free Spirit Taiko Group at Gardena Buddhist Church will consider adding sutra chanting either to performances or rehearsals.

"We are, after all, a church-sponsored organization," chairman Tom Fukuman said. "We have an obligation to teach Buddhistic ideals."

Under the sponsorship of Senshin Buddhist Church, L.A.'s Kinnara Taiko traces its origins to 1969, making it one of the oldest taiko groups in the country. Since it was incorporated, Kinnara has expanded its focus to classical Japanese dance and classical drama.

"We went through everything," Kinnara's director Mori said of the group's past two decades. "We've done stretching and calisthenics, we even did Zazen meditation and we tried chanting. In fact, that's how Kinnara got started 20 years ago--by chanting."

No matter what his orientation, the drummer's ultimate goal, according to the Rev. Arthur Takemoto of Vista Buddhist Church, should be to find joy in playing and in the drum's sound.

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