Taiko, an ancient Japanese form of team-based choreographed percussion using large barrel-shaped drums, is powerful entertainment when it comes to energizing events. Raging Asian Women (RAW) is an all-female Taiko drumming troupe in the city. The ensemble of eight to 12 women elevates the art form with athletic-like prowess, building sound and emotional intensity with each movement, from gentle staccatos to thunderous rhythms.
RAW, a non-profit arts group, was one of North America’s first all-women Taiko troupes when it began in 1998 as a self-taught community collective for the city’s East and Southeast Asian women. Today, the group performs at festivals and events in addition to teaching Taiko at high schools. Charitable and arts fundraisers and social-purpose events that advocate for women, children and the gay community resonate strongly with the group’s members (we spotted them at a recent Buy Art Not Kids fundraiser). RAW also shares Taiko’s history and hands-on percussion time through community and corporate workshops. A recent arts grant is helping the group expand its instrument collection with shoulder-strap body drums to include marching and dancing choreography in their performances.