It’s Feudal Japan, on a bright May morning. The cherry blossoms and tulips are making way for draperies of wisteria. All around, the beat of the Taiko drums reverberates through the air. In the distance, there come the sounds of kiai, and the crash of bamboo striking bamboo, threatening to drown out the shouts. A dog calls and yips as the nearby boats drift past, the low thrum of their engines interspersed with the occasional horn…
Oh, nevermind. We’re actually in the middle of the Detroit River.
I got to go to a Koi and martial arts festival on Belle Isle a few weeks ago! Pretty cool stuff, too. Right outside the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, two amazing groups put on traditional displays of Taiko Drums and Kendo matches.
For those unfamiliar, Kendo is the Japanese martial art form in which competitors fight with bamboo swords, while adorned in body armor. The Detroit Kendo Dojo, based in Novi Michigan, was present for a martial arts display, demonstrating not only the technique and style of combat, but also the spirit the fighters display when they compete.
Taiko are Japanese drums, used in kumi-daiko (a Japanese drum ensemble) and are famous for their heavy resonance and are a favorite instrument of the hearing impaired, because they produce sound that can be felt as well as heard. The Godaiko Drummers, from the Great Lakes Taiko Center, put on an terrific multi-song performance during the festival.
As you might guess, this is an excellent opportunity to get a few shots. Well, as it happens, I got by hands on a brand new Sony Alpha 7 III for the festival and put together a duet (of sorts) featuring the two performances. Check it out!