Oto-Wa Taiko was formed by members of the Ottawa Japanese Community Association in 1989. After gathering several interested members of the community, a group was formed that fall. For the first two years, the group didn't have any drums, and had to practice on car tires which is also common for beginners in Japan.
The name Oto-Wa Taiko, while phonetically reflecting its community of origin, Ottawa, uses two Japanese characters, oto and wa. Oto means sound while Wa means harmony. Taiko means drum. The character wa was chosen to symbolize the harmony among the group members as well as the harmony of spirit between the players and their drums as they make oto together.
A story of
Our repertoire has been built from a selection of pieces composed by group members, as well as pieces learned at workshops and from videos from Japan. We received much of our instruction initially from members of Montreal's Arashi Daiko and Toronto's Yakudo and Toronto Suwa Daiko, and subsequently, from members of other taiko groups, such as Yoshikazu and Yoko Fujimoto and Eiichi Saito of Kodo, Nagata Shachu of Toronto, Fubuki Daiko of Winnipeg, Uzume Daiko of Vancouver, Kaoru Watanabe of New York, Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Soh Daiko of New York, San Jose Taiko, and Kamo Tsunamura Daiko of Sendai, Japan. We also participate regularly in the North American Taiko Conference, as well as in other taiko conferences in the US and Canada.
Over the years, Oto-Wa Taiko has performed many times each year in and around the Ottawa area, as well as a few occasions in other Canadian cities such as Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg, and outside Canada in Sendai, Japan and Rochester, NY.