Cherry Blossom Festival – Old and New

Cherry Blossom – Old and New

music; ambience: Taiko at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

This season, in temperate climates around the world, cherry trees are blooming, drawing crowds to admire their flowers and the onset of Spring weather. In Japan, and in Japanese communities worldwide, the cherry blossom festival is a living tradition celebrated with a mix of customs both old and new. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Alan Okada is a drummer with Soh Daiko, a Taiko drumming ensemble which performs annually in the cherry blossom festival at New York City’s Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

“The early Japanese immigrants brought Taiko with them and would use them for the traditional festivals. But those drums largely sat unused throughout the World War Two period and it was actually only relatively recently that people began to use those Taiko as musical instruments. There are now people who strongly believe that we need to maintain those cultural ties– and Taiko is one of those things that becomes a thread to our history and our culture.”

Traditionally, Taiko drumming was reserved for ritual occasions and was not part of the cherry blossom festival. But these days in the United States, the festival has become a celebration of all forms of Japanese culture.

“The cherry blossom festival in Japan is usually a more contemplative festival, But the idea is to go out there and be out with the trees and appreciating nature and be with your friends and having a good time, and not so often having performances. But in Japanese-American communities, the cherry blossom festival has tended to be a focal point of community pride and so not only do people go out and appreciate the cherry blossoms, but they’ll schedule parades and have performances in conjunction with that.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Cherry Blossom Festival - Old and New

In the United States, the annual Cherry Blossom festival has come to include many traditional and modern Japanese art forms.
Air Date:04/05/2013
Scientist:
Transcript:

Cherry Blossom - Old and New

music; ambience: Taiko at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

This season, in temperate climates around the world, cherry trees are blooming, drawing crowds to admire their flowers and the onset of Spring weather. In Japan, and in Japanese communities worldwide, the cherry blossom festival is a living tradition celebrated with a mix of customs both old and new. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Alan Okada is a drummer with Soh Daiko, a Taiko drumming ensemble which performs annually in the cherry blossom festival at New York City's Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

"The early Japanese immigrants brought Taiko with them and would use them for the traditional festivals. But those drums largely sat unused throughout the World War Two period and it was actually only relatively recently that people began to use those Taiko as musical instruments. There are now people who strongly believe that we need to maintain those cultural ties-- and Taiko is one of those things that becomes a thread to our history and our culture."

Traditionally, Taiko drumming was reserved for ritual occasions and was not part of the cherry blossom festival. But these days in the United States, the festival has become a celebration of all forms of Japanese culture.

"The cherry blossom festival in Japan is usually a more contemplative festival, But the idea is to go out there and be out with the trees and appreciating nature and be with your friends and having a good time, and not so often having performances. But in Japanese-American communities, the cherry blossom festival has tended to be a focal point of community pride and so not only do people go out and appreciate the cherry blossoms, but they'll schedule parades and have performances in conjunction with that."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.