#TaikoLove Sounds 2019
Making #TaikoLove in Jul-2019 was my stretch project for the inaugural Women and Taiko Fellowship Program as I shared in our Women and Taiko Webinar: Journey with Jessie Gibbs, Eileen Ho, Natalie Hudson, and Lisa Shiota.
I decided to write a little piece of music every day for a month. The results are not polished pieces but rather draft productions that are mostly spontaneous and inspired by the day. I aim to spark some ideas, stir some feelings, summon some thoughts for myself and anyone else who listens and reflects upon these sounds. What do you hear? ~Eileen Ho, July 2019
My Songs 1-31 July 2019
▶️My Song 1 GarageBand Taiko
1 July 2019
Playing around with beats in GarageBand on our old iPad and rediscovered the taiko drums touch instruments! This song clip includes taiko tracks and random loops put together with minimal experience and lots of wondering. Also had fun making a video of a brief live-play-along that you can watch on Facebook.
▶️My Song 2 erhu
2 July 2019
Two strings, two erhu voices, two instrument types in erhu and taiko.
After finding Taiko Drums in Garageband's Japanese Traditional sound library pack, I was eager to download the Chinese Traditional Instruments, too. And as a Chinese American taiko artist born in the year of the horse, I am intrigued by the horse sound feature of the erhu, yet to be explored on this emotional instrument.
▶️My Song 3 koto summer
3 July 2019
This third song experiment was inspired by a Godaiko Drummers new compositions and arrangements rehearsal which I observed at the Great Lakes Taiko Center. The taiko track is looped (with shime, nagado, odaiko sounds) and combines with two different drum tracks (Isabela - Coconut Grove, Darcy - Summer Song) plus two lines recorded on the Koto instrument in Garageband.
▶️My Song 4 Trucky Wucky beat track
4 July 2019
I was at a lovely Fourth of July gathering hosted by a friend's parents when I noticed an old yellow toy car known as "Trucky Wucky" that my friend rode when he was little, honking the red horn and pulling the gear shifter. So I sampled the worn out horn squeaks and the grrrinding ringy gear sound, along with head and rim shot sounds of his dad's practice taiko drum. Add a few more percussion samples in GrooveMixer and we got a beepin' beat track to go!
▶️My Song 5 A minor musing on piano
5 July 2019
Feeling nostalgic I dug up an old track from 5 years ago, buried in my Google Drive folder called [A minor musing] with these notes from 22 Sept 2014: "I've been wanting to experiment with recording on the fly, bits of my piano musings in A minor collection, haha. So without any preplanning, this is my first one." This was captured on my android cellphone with an audio recording app.
▶️My Song 6 rhythms and jam
6 July 2019
We like to say that the building blocks of any taiko song are represented by the 6 rhythms on our wall chart at the Great Lakes Taiko Center. Back in Garageband, I recorded 8 bars of each rhythm (tempo 80 bpm; quantized to straight 1/4, 1/8, or 1/16 notes - tech cheat to shift notes into place) using a different taiko drum sound for each one. Then I played along to each rhythm track as a backbeat, making 8 bars of a virtual jam session for each rhythm using the various Taiko Drum instruments. This sound clip plays out each rhythm with accompanying jam in order from 1 to 6.
▶️My Song 7 iHira flutes
7 July 2019
I played the taiko beat for this song on the hira daiko by my desk, my first taiko, using the cherrywood bachi that I bought with the drum at a taiko conference many years ago. I recorded the sound with my phone but the low quality led me to lay down an iHira track in Garageband instead.
I've been wanting to make some lovely flute melodies, but the quicker tempo of the taiko track (120 bpm) changed my tune. Do you hear the lively flute melodies instead?
iHira flutes. And hopefully someday I will learn to play a flute well enough to record.
▶️My Song 8 For Us on violin and piano
8 July 2019
For fun, Larry and I took a music composition class at the Univ. of Michigan, even though we were respectively pre-med and earth science majors that Spring term of '87. For violin and piano, I remember writing my Final Project so that it was easy enough for us to play together on our respective instruments. For now, I excitedly entered the original score (with no edits except my current interpretation of the tempo markings) into Flat.io online music notation software and played back the audio which lets me listen to and respect my 20-year-old composer self. For Us, the piece has four sections that increase in tempo from "Moderately slow, Expressive" (reminds me of the Russian Folk Melody, Dark Eyes, in my children's piano book), to "Distinct Rhythm" (sounds distinctly like gamelan melodies to me), to "Moderate" (violin part sounds like GOT soundtracks at first, then my fave part is when the pizzicato notes come in on the variation), and finally ends in a "Lively" fashion, all done amusingly with no respect for limitations on my musical sense and composed when I was the age that my fourth and youngest child is now!
▶️My Song 9 drive that by me
9 July 2019
My commute to taiko is half an hour each way, so I have time to think about my music every day.
If I have an idea that I want to record, I just click on my app as I drive in my Ford. Well I actually drive a Nissan Leaf, and this track is very brief, but it captured an idea I had, and I hope it's not too bad...
I was trying to sing for you to hear a rhythm about the current year (one 2, O ooh, 1 time, eight 9=triplets x3 you see). I hope you like, but more likely you're like, drive that by me again, friend?!
Note: I was actually driving in paradise (okay, the road and city near Las Vegas) when I got the idea for this July 2019 playlist!
▶️My Song 10 You're a Controller! (instrumental version)
10 July 2019
The more I look into digital music making, the more I find myself wanting things that I didn't know I wanted and certainly don't fully understand.
Here is the instrumental version of You're a Controller! made on Garageband iOS with Dubstep live loops and original melodies on oboe! (BTW this track was temporarily removed from SoundCloud due to possible copyright violation when their automated system detected what sounded like lifted content from another artist's song. Hm, oh yeah, we Dubstep LOL.)
▶️My Song 11 You're a Controller! (of MIdidiDI version)
11 July 2019
My Song 10 You're a Controller! (instrumental version) was made with Dubstep live loops and an oboe melody. Here in My Song 11 You're a Controller! (of MIdidiDi version) I add a vocal track with lyrics that explain my feelings about the MIDI controllers I've been lusting after :) LOL
You're a Controller! (song lyrics):
▶️My Song 12 don't look away
12 July 2019
The three taiko rhythm patterns in this piece are inspired by signs and chants at a protest rally and walk through downtown Ann Arbor.
Those kuchi-shoka (literally mouth-sounds in Japanese) represent taiko drum patterns played on a chu daiko or middle-sized drum, shime or small drum, and odaiko or big drum respectively, which are played and arranged in Garageband. Say it, then play it, then command it.
Don't Look Away!
▶️My Song 13 raindrops on Sanguniro
13 July 2019
Sounds of Japanese taiko drums drop like rain on top of the melody line of Sanguniro, a Javanese gamelan song by Joko Sutrisno of Sumunar in Minnesota.
In a gamelan ensemble, there is one drummer and an array of other players on various melodic percussion instruments. For an alternate arrangement in this piece, I created six taiko drum tracks in GarageBand to combine with the gamelan track which is a 2005 recording of Joko's demo of the song melody on a single saron/metallophone for my kids' Sumunar Youth Gamelan class back in the Twin Cities.
My connection to gamelan music starts with my parents who met and married in Bandung where their families were immigrant Chinese in Indonesia, and they actually had a gamelan ensemble and dancers perform at their wedding. Later in the US they took their kids to see gamelan performances at the University of Michigan. I think that if they knew about any gamelan classes for children, they would have signed us up.
▶️My Song 14 her own drum
14 July 2019
This piece was recorded after midnight in my basement with the SoundCloud app on my phone, using earbuds with microphone, playing the muted side of my very own taiko drum.
It is nothing fancy, but it is her own.
▶️My Song 15 stick with it (bachi w clarinet)
15 July 2019
What if I could actually play a clarinet with taiko? For My Song 15 stick with it (bachi w clarinet) I chose to play the clarinet instrument in GarageBand with virtual bachi sticks on a shime daiko playing an underlying jiuchi rhythm "Ten te ke" that says "Stick with it!".
In fourth grade I chose the fascinating clarinet as the instrument I wanted to learn to play for 5th grade band.😁 The band teacher called for brave souls to try the clarinet when he introduced the whole class to all the different instruments.😯 When I shyly declared my choice, the band teacher was surprised and tried to convince me to choose the flute instead. Why?😐 Well I ended up playing clarinet and only for a couple years, but I'm glad little me stuck with her decision to try out something that sparked her interest. That's how I now find myself sticking with taiko!🤩 ...happily performing and teaching with my high school sweetheart Larry.😍
▶️My Song 16 ocean drum beach bubbles
16 July 2019
Listen here and you might hear, some simple things. Maybe the whooshing of ocean waves upon a beach, the scuttling of small crabs, the bubbling in the sand and the froth. The sounds of Nature are simple, but they can affect us profoundly as we hear them unconsciously, listen attentively, or even play them back intentionally as we make our own sounds.
The sounds in My Song 16 ocean drum beach bubbles were recorded with my phone and came from playing a 16" Remo Ocean Drum *with fish graphics* by hand and from playing on wondrous beaches by foot.
▶️My Song 18 mouth of a shark
18 July 2019
Powerful poetry struck. A friend shared the poem "Home" by Warsan Shire and now I repeat the words, through the rhythmic voices of drums, of only a few of many powerful lines:
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark...
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.
~excerpts from "Home" by Warsan Shire (Somali-British poet, writer, editor, teacher)
In GarageBand land, I chose Leah's Perpetual Motion from the Deep End of a Beat Masher live loop to accompany a trio of taiko drum voices set to rhythms inspired by those words from Home. The middle shime daiko speaks all the words of all four lines repeatedly; the higher shime speaks the first two lines in its own cadence; and the lower shime speaks the last two lines in its own way.
▶️My Song 19 sleepy rain (lullaby)
19 July 2019
This sleepy song comes on a rainy summer day when doggos like our senior rescue dog #SmokeytheMinPin prefer to nap all comfy and cozy inside. If only our human babies would fall into a slumber so easily!
My Song 19 sleepy Rain (lullaby) is played on acoustic guitars in Garageband. The melody is derived from a family favorite tune called Snowflakes from the show Winter Dreams by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis (www.instagram.com/p/Br07lgzl9XH/). Because winter snow is like the opposite of summer rain, I invert the note pattern and switch to a major key plus slow it down to create the appropriate seasonal and emotional effect.
Hear the rain falling,
▶️My Song 20 moonlight kitchen
20 July 2019
Many things come together to make a song idea light up. In this case it is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing; we watched Picard as Kamin play the Ressikan flute in "The Inner Light" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 5, Ep. 25); and I enjoyed the gift of freshly baked chocolate cake from my sweetie.
My Song 20 moonlight kitchen landed on my iPad mini with the light melody on Toy Glockenspiel and rhythms shining on various Pots and Pans in GarageBand's Toy Box percussion collection.
▶️My Song 21 hearts across the sea
21 July 2019
For my friend who is across the sea now, my heart reaches out to theirs.
This song was created after improvising on my home piano as I thought about my friend. The rendition in Garageband / Grand Piano is not as heartfelt, but hopefully captures some of the struggling yet hopeful melody that we might share in our hearts.
▶️My Song 22 playing cards dealt
22 July 2019
Play the cards you are dealt. Don't worry about whether you could get something better. You have everything you need right in front of you. Deal with it! That's what I told my taiko students who were working on a 4 beat measure solo using 4 playing cards I had dealt them, each one representing a different rhythm or rest to include in their pattern. For this composition, I dealt myself one card for the jiuchi base beat and 4 cards for each of 10 measures. Although I was tempted to change things around at first, in the end I played the cards as they were dealt. What are the odds that I would get a masterpiece while playing this game? I think I'll need to cheat a bit, or change the rules, to make that happen haha!
My Song 22 playing cards dealt was recorded on my phone as I tapped the jiuchi on my journal with a multicolor pen rattling in the crease and rapped the rhythm patterns on the wood bench upon which these items were sitting. The 2 of diamonds was my jiuchi rhythm, te ke, for each beat and I had only one Joker that represented the rhythm do don ko for one out of 40 beats. This recording is the 11th take.
▶️My Song 23 take in the shadow
23 July 2019
If we were to take away a song's melody and its simple underlying beat, what would we hear remaining in the shadow? A friend once told me in college that if we were able to snap our fingers and make everything disappear except for all the mites and nematodes that exist around us, they would still make an outline of everything on the surface of the earth!
For My Song 23 take in the shadow, I work with a *melody and jiuchi* that never appear on the track but rather stand in the back of my mind as I play the Taiko Drums instruments along to Shadow Beat & Leah drummer live loops in GarageBand. I leave the taiko sounds intact and remove alternating pieces of the live loops, and the result is this take in the shadow.
*The melody and jiuchi I was thinking of are from the song Mushi Okuri "Send Away Bugs!"
▶️My Song 24 monkey sorry not
24 July 2019
My oldest child Jasmine is a Midwest Monkey. She plucked one of her poems and blew it my way to see what we could do with it. We talked about what the Chinese legend Monkey King might sound like on taiko, at least this younger monkey character, and I apologize if this transformation of her poetry is not what she expected. Or not, and I'm just trying to show off, her poem.
Jasmine's poem and bio can be read at http://www.sundresspublications.com/stirring/archives/v17/e10/anj2.htm. For My Song 24 monkey sorry not, I recorded vocals and played on the Taiko Drums set in GarageBand.
MONKEY APOLOGIZES FOR HIS TRANSFORMATION
▶️My Song 25 two cent mushi taro
25 July 2019
Larry and I stayed after Raion Taiko rehearsal to video record our two cents worth about how we might play the traditional song Mushi Okuri while facing each other and moving between two drums, a different way for us to play this song together!
Back home there was a taro root on the table which my mom intends to cook in a particular dish some day soon. And there was some spare change, too. So for My Song 25 two cent mushi taro, I combined the swing jiuchi beat played on the taro root and accompanying copper clicks of two pennies to the audio track of the Mushi video (posted on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eileensho/posts/10220120339460431).
▶️My Song 26 oh my a sloth
26 July 2019
My youngest daughter Maya is often wearing a flashy sloth tank top, especially when on the soccer field and playing in her quicksilver methodical style. She was also quick to capture some drum beats and flute melodies when I showed her one of the online DAWs (digital audio workstations) I found the other day. I love her whimsical fashion sense and playful musicality. She is my amusing muse.
We used a free version of the Soundtrap studio online to create our music together. Maya played the Machine Pop drum set and keyboard flutes, and I added Dubstepper beat sequences to her tracks. In a flash we have made a collaborative version of My Song 26 oh my a sloth.
▶️My Song 27 sun in Austria
27 July 2019
My son Webster studied abroad in Berlin and Austria last Spring term, so I was asking him how people greeted each other on the street there. I cherish any time we have a chance to chat online while he is away at college, and to hear his sunny voice makes me happy.
Webster sent me some voice recordings for My Song 27 sun in Austria. I combined audio clips with live loop selections from the GarageBand Prismatica collection of nu disco sounds called Solaris.
▶️My Song 28 dog bites
28 July 2019
My 2nd child Ruby was born at home in the Chinese Year of the Dog. Two twelve year cycles later, our senior rescue #SmokeytheMinPin also arrived home to join our family in the year of the Dog. Ruby is always wondrously curious about the world around her; while Smokey is usually tremendously focused on where in the world is his next meal or snack.
For My Song 28 dog bites, I clipped sound bites from audio recordings of Smokey barking for food, Ruby laughing about raising his paw for who wants a snack, and the sound of Smokey eating a meal. Then I arranged those bites into 28 bars of music with live loops garnished from the GarageBand Chinese Modern collection.
▶️My Song 29 Toolik soundscapes on piano
29 July 2019
Hear the soundscapes from a different land than here. Candle ice floating on Toolik Lake, in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, glisten under the neverending Arctic summer sun. Wind rushes through the flapping doors of a hoop house greenhouse set up at Toolik Field Station. Bird calls echo across the tundra. Scientists cut through a steel unistrut, and a drone hovers above a boardwalk. Researcher scoops 1,373 pellets, from counting piles on a table into a jar, for the Christmas in July Caribou Pellet Count guessing game. And candle ice sounds again!
For inspiring imagery, I watched and listened to the album of soundscape videos that Ruby recently shared with me from her summer in Alaska (toolik.alaska.edu). Using the iPad Mini microphone and GarageBand software, I then recorded myself playing My Song 29 Toolik soundscapes, using only the black keys on our piano here at home.
▶️My Song 30 cinematika
30 July 2019
Popcorn mood. I love to make popcorn and watch reality shows on TV with my fam at home, or get a bucket to share while enjoying fantastic films at the movie theater. Sprinkle in some salty taiko drumming and pour on buttery dramatic strings and I'm sure to enjoy the show even more!
The ticket to making My Song 30 cinematika is using the Cinematic setting for Strings and turning on the Triplet Echo Master Effect for Taiko Drums "Don" beats and "ka" rim shots in GarageBand. I also use various Autoplay chord features and straight quantization to assist me in my acting like a whole string section and a precise drummer.
▶️My Song 31 this is why I drum
31 July 2019
The vocalizations in My Song 31 this is why I drum are based on rhythms in a taiko composition called Why We Drum by Raion Taiko director Brian Sole.
[Photo by Mike Ouellette from the opening of Why We Drum 2019 with special guest Mike Ellison at the 9th annual Great Lakes Taiko Center showcase.]
Heartbeat. I drum.
📽️ The video below was submitted to Taiko Community Alliance for livestreaming on October 20th 2019 at Taikothon 2019 - TAIKO VISION: Dream Out Loud! (Coverage starts at 3:20:45 in the full Taikothon 2019 video or click here to watch the segment). The video features My Song 31 this is why I drum with photos from the Great Lakes Taiko Center 9th Annual Showcase: Why We Drum.
We all have our own reasons for Why We Drum. The joy of playing taiko together is the reason Why We Dream about our 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Great Lakes Taiko Center in 2020!
RAION TAIKO & Great Lakes Taiko Center (GLTC)
I am grateful to share and dream for world TaikoPeace with our community at the Great Lakes Taiko Center (GLTC) in SE Michigan and my Family An-Ho in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan USA on the native lands of the Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi)↗ Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ↗ Peoria↗ Meškwahki·aša·hina (Fox)↗ https://usdac.us/nativeland #HonorNativeLand