Japanese Drum Fest ShastaYama Returns to Mt Shasta

What: ShastaYama: the 7th annual festival of Japanese drumming, dance and music
When: Saturday, July 30, 2011, 6 p.m. Gate opens at 5 p.m.
Where: Shastice Park (Rockfellow & Adams Drive), Mount Shasta
Cost: $15-$25

In the alpine beauty of Northern California, at the base of majestic Mount Shasta, a cultural phenomenon has taken hold. ShastaYama — Shasta Taiko’s festival of Japanese taiko drumming, dance, and music — merges art and nature to uplift spirits and celebrate life.

Shasta Taiko will be celebrating its 26th year by presenting its 7th Annual ShastaYama Festival on Saturday, July 30th at Mount Shasta’s Shastice Park. Founding members of Shasta Taiko and the Festival, Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, are recognized pioneering taiko leaders who are committed to bringing a new creativity and a legacy of taiko that reaches across the country to influence the next generation of taiko artists. They are pleased to feature several taiko groups as well as bring in the literary arts for this year’s event.

Featured guest group Portland Taiko will weave rhythm, melody, humor and movement together into an exhilarating musical experience. By combining traditional and contemporary compositions and choreography, Portland Taiko Ensemble takes Asian American music into unexplored territory with its innovative and provocative creations. Their innovative style has placed them on the national stage from Hawaii to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. ShastaYama festival favorites Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe will present their elegant and electrifying taiko and dance as members of Portland Taiko.

This year’s Festival is also honored to present Oregon Poet Laureate and American Book Award recipient Lawson Fusao Inada, whose eloquent performance of the spoken word will add a new dimension to the total experience of ShastaYama.

Stanford Taiko — a creative young taiko ensemble leading a growing national collegiate taiko movement — will also take the stage this year with an all-original repertoire. According to Russel Baba, “One of ShastaYama’s visions is to encourage and showcase developing talent, and the festival is excited to present Stanford Taiko in 2011.”

Shasta Taiko’s performing members are from the community program and will be performing all original material by the leaders, Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer. Joining Shasta Taiko is Masato Baba, the son of Baba and Mercer. “Masato’s dynamic talent and artistry places him at the forefront of a new taiko generation, and he is a large part of ShastaYama’s inspiration, appeal, and success,” says Jeanne. Also bringing a fresh and unique spirit to this year’s Festival and Shasta Taiko is Kris Bergstrom. Kris has gained a reputation for exploring new directions for taiko. He is a member of On Ensemble and TaikoProject and a former member of this year’s festival guests, Stanford Taiko.

Tickets are now available and are priced at $25 (age 18 & up), $20 (age 13-17), $15 (age 5-12), and free for age 4 and under. Ticket outlets are: at Village Books and at Soul Connections in Mt. Shasta, Bogbean Books & Music in Redding, Yreka Chamber of Commerce, and at the gate. For credit card purchase, call (800) 926-4865 ext. 203 and online at shastayama.org.

Shastice Park is located at Rockfellow and Adams Drive. The gate opens at 5 p.m. and food and refreshments will be available. Bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating on the grass, and warm clothes and flashlights are advised after sunset. No pets or glass, please.

For more information, check out shastayama.org or call (530) 859-8686. The ShastaYama Festival is sponsored by Shasta Taiko – Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce, and Mount Shasta Recreation District.

Shasta Taiko performing at Redding’s ArtHop in 2008.

View the Shastise Park location in a larger map.

-from press release

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Press Release

-from press release