Tiffany Tamaribuchi started out as very small kid who used to stand in front of the Taiko drums, in awe, every year at the local O-bon festivals in and around her hometown of Sacramento. She grew up wanting to learn how to play Taiko, but didn't have a group to join The closest groups were in San Francisco and San Jose. Occasionally they would perform at local summer festivals and events, but they were just too far away. Tiffany contented herself with other pursuits like Kendo and Theatre Arts until one fateful day in 1986 when she saw KODO perform a One Earth Tour Concert at UC Davis Freeborn Hall.
From that day forward, she was determined to learn
as much as she could about Taiko and Taiko drumming. After a year of
circumspect requests to members of the local Minyo group, Tiffany was
finally allowed to learn some Bon-daiko and to play at the local festivals.
It was a dream come true...but it just wasn't enough. She traveled to visit San Jose Taiko to see if she might join there, but the group wasn't accepting new members at the time. She traveled to Berkeley to see the International Taiko Festival at UCB Zellerbach Hall. She expressed an interest in learning taiko to one of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo members and he introduced her to Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka. She asked Tanaka-sensei if he would consider starting a group in Sacramento, and he said he really didn't have the time. In the following months, members of SFTD came to perform at the local university. Tiffany went to that performance and asked Tanaka-sensei to please consider starting a Taiko group in Sacramento. He said, "Why don't you come to San Francisco to study? Then you can start your own group in Sacramento."
So she did. She joined SFTD in 1988, commuting down to SF up to 3 times per week for classes. In the meantime, she did everything she could to put out the word that she was trying to start a Taiko group in Sacramento.
One big breakthrough was when she received a call from Reverend Gary Barbaree at the Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church. Having heard about her difficulties in trying to find a practice space, he helped to pave the way for classes at the SJUMC where the Sacramento Taiko Dan got its start.
During this time, she also started an all-women's group, JODAIKO, that
performed for the local Take Back the Night March and Rally and went on to perform at Women's Music Festivals and other related events, culminating with a performance in Osaka, Japan.
In those days, the style and
techniques she knew were very raw and rudimentary, so the group invited in guest instructors from several different groups and solo artists in North America and Japan. Sacramento Taiko Dan flourished.
By this time, Tiffany
was performing with Taiko Dojo, but things at home were getting busier and
she was still at CSU Sacramento working on trying to graduate with a
baccalaureate degree. She gradually ended the weekly commutes to the city
and began to focus more time on her own group. She started traveling to
Japan in 1991 participating in a KODO JUKU on Sado Island led by Katsuji
Kondo, training a bit with Oedo Sukeroku Taiko in Tokyo and also learning
Suigun Daiko in Sacramento's sister-city, Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture).
1993, she realized her dream of providing classes for children who wanted
to learn to play, founding the Sacramento Taiko Dan Children's Ensemble.
This was also the year she was invited to join ZA ONDEKOZA on their North
American tour, enabling her to perform as a featured soloist at Carnegie
Hall in 1994 She continued to tour as a guest artist with the group in Asia
and Japan in 1995 and appears on the Ondekoza Live '95 VHS Video and
In 1996 she left Ondekoza and went to Okinawa to study with
Zampa Ufujishi Taiko and the Mafueakaji Eisa group. Stints touring in
Japan were balanced with concerts and tours with Sac Taiko, including a
series of performances in Europe.
In 1998 she refocused her attention back to her own groups and career in the United States, continuing to work, tour and perform with Sacramento Taiko Dan and JODAIKO, and creating TOZAI WADAIKO, a smaller professional ensemble. She also began working with other groups throughout North America, Europe and Japan, becoming one of the most highly sought after and respected Taiko workshop facilitators in the United States.
In 2002, Tiffany won the OTA-I-KO Hibike Zenkoku Ippon-uchi
(All-Japan Odaiko Competition) and was a finalist in the first Tokyo
International Odaiko competition the same year. She continues to teach and
perform with her own ensembles, as a solo artist and as a guest artist with
other groups and solo performers.
© Copyright 2004Tiffany Tamaribuchi. All rights reserved.