Hai Ho! Hai Ho! It’s Off to Taiko We Go! – In Mt. Shasta: Taiko Classes for Youth

© Lisa Shara; Published at North State Parent

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Taiko is an ancient Japanese style of drumming that, in the last half century, has undergone an evolution into an ensemble performing art. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have seen a taiko performance, you may already be hooked on the excitement, skill and team work exemplified.

Julie Bennett has been a member of Northern California’s Shasta Taiko ensemble for 16 years. The ensemble was formed by Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba over 25 years ago.  Last February Julie began fulfilling a personal dream: “I have wanted to teach taiko to children for a long time,” she says. “Having seen taiko performers who have grown up in the world of drumming, I realize how it can impact a child’s growth and talent, and motivate them to pursue their artistic passions.”

art-115-taiko3“The young people I see in taiko today are centered, focused, extremely dedicated and disciplined.  I am so impressed with their maturity and abilities,” says Julie. In her classes, students work together as a team through exercise, creativity and rhythmic awareness, as well as solo improvisation. Keller King, age 6, was a student in Julie’s first children’s class series. He says, “Taiko was really fun. We learned patterns, how to count to ten in Japanese, and drum beats.”

Movement is an important aspect of taiko, explains Julie. “Taiko is based on the elements of nature: the taiko stance or “kata” (body position) Continue reading

Localicious: For the Love of Ghee

© Hannah Kraemer and Lisa Shara. Published at North State Parent.

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What’s better than butter? Butter made from organic, pasture-raised cows already has a dense profile of health-giving nutrients, and it’s hard to deny the love for a food that leaves a warm and satisfying taste. Perhaps the question is: how can we make butter better?

The answer is ghee. Take butter, melt and simmer it to naturally purify it, and ghee is what you get!

Originating in India, ghee is a type of clarified butter that has been around for centuries. Although the production may vary from place to place, ghee is valued as a necessary staple in the typical Indian diet. In India and Tibet, ghee has been long revered for its healing properties. Continue reading

Frank Yamma “Nguta Waljilpa”

One of my favorite songs (became part of the soundtrack of my life some years back), written and sung by Frank Yamma. “Nguta Waljilpa” is found on Frank’s album “Countryman” released late 2010/early 2011. Son of the late singer/songwriter Issac Yamma (1940-1990), Frank speaks five languages. He sings primarily in Pitjantjatjara (Central Australia’s Western Dessert) and English. “Unesco considers Pitjantjatjara to be a “vulnerable” language, Austlang considers Pitjantjatjara to be “definitely endangered” (grade 3).”

Recording has some issues (sounds like ceiling fans are making a whooshing noise), but love that this was recorded at all – The Festival Youth Choir performs Ngura Watjilpa at the opening of the 2011 Castlemaine State Festival.

For those with facebook, one other touching acoustic performance: