Taiko Lesson – Learn Obon Festival Drumming

Thank you for dropping by!  There are two components to this online taiko lesson on Bon Daiko, or Obon Festival Drumming.  The first is an in-depth look at Hokkai Bon Uta, an Obon Festival classic.  Lessons 1-2 focus on the fundamentals and basic patterns.  If you’re just starting out, or would like a refresher, please begin the course here.  If you’re already familiar with the piece “Matsuri” you could probably skip to Lesson 3.

The second component explores a wide range of Obon Festival classics.  At the beginning of each video, there is a brief intro on the history and lyrics of each piece.  In the second part of the video, we’ll explore how to play each song.

By the end of this taiko course, I hope you have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Obon Festival and the music.  I played my first Obon Festival when I was 8 years old.  It’s music that is very dear and personal to me, and it’s an honor to share it with you!

Download Classic Obon Festival Songs

FREE Songs and Sheet Music. Feel free to use these recordings at your local Obon Festival.

Component 1 – Hokkai Bon Uta In Depth

Component 2 – Various Obon Festival Songs

Hokkai Bon Uta

Hokkai Bon Uta, formerly known as Beccho Bushi, was a vulgar coal miner’s song from Hokkaido. In 1940, the lyrics were subsequently rewritten. The song was rearranged into the version we eventually became familiar with today. The 1940 arrangement was recorded by Michiya Mihashi. The album sold 2.6 million copies. I’ve included a link to the Mihashi recording below.

There are a few reasons I chose to kick off these online taiko lessons with Hokkai Bon Uta.  First it’s one of the most popular Bon Odori songs, and you will hear the instrumental melody used as a motif throughout Japanese pop culture. Second, it’s simple to learn, yet a lot of fun to play. And finally, this melody of this song fits the basic Matsuri patterns perfectly. Therefore, if you’re even vaguely familiar with Matsuri, you have a great head start.

Hokkai Bon Uta Lyrics

The waves like flower petals
We cross the Tsugaru Sea into Ezochi (Hokkaido)
At 17, she was just a bud
Now at 21, the flowers are in full bloom
In love yet completely unaware
A complete lack of interest (in the opposite sex) is no good either
There are many things Hokkaido is famous for
One is the Bon Odori of my land, Hokkaido

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Want to Learn Taiko?

Private and Small Group Taiko Lessons in North Hollywood

In-person private and small group taiko lessons (up to 3 participants) are offered at my studio in North Hollywood.  You are welcome to drop by, see the space, and get a feel for what lessons might be like.

Place: 5716 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
Fees: $100 per hour
Contact: isaku@isakukageyama.com

Online Taiko Lessons, Workshops, and Courses

Whether you’re an individual or a group, if you’re looking to learn taiko online I would love to help!  I can record online tutorials for you to watch at your convenience.  Or, if you prefer live interaction, I have a Zoom setup for that as well.  Please feel free to reach out and we can figure out a suitable format!

Contact: isaku@isakukageyama.com

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