Traditional Taiwan moves to the beat of a drum. During temple rites, massive mechanized thuds alternate with the tolling of a bell. When chanting litany, Daoist priests keep up a constant tick-tocking on small, fish-shaped solid-wood drums. During the solemn rites every September 28 at Taiwan's Confucian temples, drums of five different sizes are played.
Even in the 21st century, drums, bells, gongs, fireworks and firecrackers form the soundtrack for religious parades and temple celebrations. But thanks to the efforts of Ten Drum Art Percussion Group, a performance and educational troupe, drumming - inspired by yet not beholden to tradition - is becoming part of Taiwan's modern urban culture.
The group performed at the Summer Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000, at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea, and more recently in the Czech Republic.
Since 2007, Ten Drum's base has been a disused sugar refinery in Tainan...
This article appeared in the January/February issue of Travel in Taiwan. The photo shows part of their Tainan base.
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