Japanese Beats: Josh Harris

Many students here at North Point play instruments and are musically talented, but few stray away from the typical types of music, whether they be rock, pop, or contemporary. Freshman Josh Harris is a drummer, but not your typical drummer. Harris plays a Japanese drum and performs with the Taiko drummers.

Harris plays the odaiko drum in a program that his friend’s family started. “My friend got me interested,” said Harris. He has been playing the drum since eighth grade. Harris’ friend was from Japan and he was introduced to the Japanese culture through this new art form.

The music that Harris and the other musicians play is an older form of Japanese music. It represents fighting in the Japanese culture and history.

Last year Harris and the group performed at the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. “The experience was pretty cool,” added Harris. The festival was an important performance for the group, because the Cherry Blossom Trees were given to America as a gift from the Japanese, so it was a sort of blending of two cultures.

Harris is very intrigued by Japanese culture and very enthralled by the music. He practices every week with the other Taiko drummers at his friend’s house. “It takes a lot of time to learn to play the odaiko drum,” commented Harris.

The Taiko drummers program was founded through his friend’s parents, Rod and Kelly Chin. The Chin family founded  the Chin Hamaya Culture Center which offers lessons for Taiko, Shisa, Okinawan clown, Traditional dance, ten person dragon, Kimekomi Doll Making, Ikebana Washi Paper crafts, Wadaiko, and Seidokan karate. The center also promotes “peace through understanding each other’s culture.”