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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson Meet Yourself: Catch these local performers at TMY


    Courtesy of Tucson Taiko

    Odaiko Sonora performs on stage. Odaiko Sonora will be performing this weekend at Tucson Meet Yourself.

    For those hoping to experience a new culture by ear, Tucson Meet Yourself has a variety of options available to experience.
    Here are the three local performing acts you need to see:

    Odaiko Sonora

    Tucson’s Japanese ensemble drumming group was co-founded in 2002 by Karen Falkenstrom and Rome Hamner. Since then, the group has been performing a Japanese style of music called Taiko: an intense, booming style of percussion that has been a keystone in Japanese music for centuries. 

    Odaiko Sonora is inspired by Southern Arizona and its rich Native American culture. 

    Founding member Karen Falkenstrom wrote in an e-mail, “We wanted to be a regional group that served the Southwest. We took a cue from Odaiko New England,’ which roughly translates to ‘big drum of New England. Theirs was an unusual name for a Taiko group but it seemed to be the right idea for us. Our name, Odaiko Sonora, honors our region and our border culture by taking its name from the desert life in and our neighboring state in Mexico.” 

    Odaiko Sonora very strongly represents Asian culture in Southern Arizona, and having performed this style of music for well over a decade, it is a very experienced, energized and artful act. 

    Tucson Highlanders

    Performing bagpipes and drums around Southern Arizona, Tucson Highlanders heavily embody Scottish culture. 

    Established in February 2013, the group puts an emphasis on bagpipe instruction and it is clear they want to pass the art of performing this style of music on to others in the area.

    William Don Carlos, Pipe Major with the group, explained the history of this music and his experience learning and playing it. 

    “This is a living tradition. I first began piping while a student at the UA. Then I lived in Glasgow, Scotland and today I [and Tucson Highlanders] teach piping and drumming to people here, regardless of their family heritage,” Don Carlos said.

    He went on to say that the group focuses on the cultural diversity of the area. Their music ranges all over the continent of Europe and the group also plays American melodies for other events. 

    “We play traditional music, but because it is a living tradition, new music is composed all the time. The bagpipes are over 5,000 years old but more popular than ever. Ancient, yet forever new,” Don Carlos said of Tucson Highlanders’ style.  

    Because the group has so much experience and provides music for many events in the Tucson region, Tucson Highlanders will capture the attention of festival-goers this weekend. 

    The Bouncing Czechs

    The Bouncing Czechs are Tucson’s Czech polka group. Consisting of five members and led by tuba player John Prokop, the group typically spearheads Oktoberfest here in Tucson. 

    According to the group’s website, they have been performing together for 19 years and have performed at a broad range of events in Arizona. 

    The Bouncing Czechs’ music embodies what is traditionally performed in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and they perform an extensive library of songs from these nations. 

    Representing Eastern European music at TMY, and performing such a variety of music, The Bouncing Czechs are expected to be an engaging act to see as well.

    These bands, as well as many other exciting groups, will showcase Tucson’s colorful range of cultures at Tucson Meet Yourself.

    Follow Paul Barlyn on Twitter.

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