Sunday, February 3
A drum festival in Tainan and bad weather equals great opportunity for us! Mei-Jen's friend took us to the Ten Drum Culture Village Festival today. On the way there it started raining. It got worse the closer we got to the festival, although it was never raining very hard.
The first thing we did was see a performance by the Ten Drum youth group. They were excellent. If you know how much I love drums you know how much fun this was for me. There were only about 30 people in the audience so I had plenty of room to move around and get photos from different angles.
After the performance the other audience members scattered. As we were buying some CDs just outside of the performance space, we suddenly heard them playing again. HL asked if I wanted to watch, or even play a little. Of course I did! HL got me up on stage with a pair of sticks in my hand. I got to play their large drum. Then I asked if they could teach me something so I could play with them a little. I guess it got lost in the translation because a few of them started playing and I just stood there like a dumb rock. It was still really cool to be on stage while all those drums are being played. I asked again and they played again, and this time I joined in, watching and playing along with one of the drummers who was playing a similar drum to one I was near. I played with them a bit, and even stopped right when they did. Whew!
The Culture Village is contained within the grounds of an old sugar cane facility. I believe the company sponsors the group. There are classes available for children, youth and adults. On our last trip to Taiwan, Guo-Shu took us to see the youth group in performance in Taipei. The family who took us to the festival today bought us a DVD of that same performance when the wife came to visit us in 2006.
Next we got a tour of their drum museum. It was only our small group of 8 people. We got to see some nice drums and learn a little about how they are made. We even got to play some of them. There is one drum that is 7.5 feet in diameter and has natural skin heads. They have another that has a plastic head that looks bigger than that.
One of the bulidings contains a shrine with 5 large drums on either side. Each drum is used to pray for a specific thing, such as wealth, good health, children, etc. To use this, you choose a drum and hit it 3 times. Then you light 2 incense sticks. One goes in a pot at the shrine and one goes in a large standing pot about 20 feet in front of the shrine. I choose a few drums and prayed.