SHOTEN was formed in Dubai, UAE in 2014 and is the Middle East’s first and only Japanese Taiko Drumming performing group.

Our ensemble is comprised of musicians from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, including African, Middle Eastern, Western and modern percussion and classical music, who have each learnt the technique and style of Japanese Taiko and joined together in order to bring the thundering sounds of Taiko to the Middle East.

11998809_10200967888915755_5911605249932881134_nSHOTEN performances to date include:

  • Hotelier Awards 2014 (InterContinental Dubai Festival City)
  • Dubai International Dance Festival 2015 (Jebel Ali Beach Hotel)
  • GPCA Forum 2015 ExxonMobil One World Welcome Dinner (Jumeirah Beach Hotel)
  • HIPA 2015 Life In Color Awards (DIFC)
  • CAN-PACK 10th Anniversary (Habtoor Grand Hotel, Dubai)
  • Quoz Arts Fest 2017 (Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai)


In Japan, “Taiko” (太鼓) is the term used to describe a wide range of Japanese percussion instruments. Outside of Japan, the term is used to describe any of the Japanese drums known as “Wadaiko” (和太鼓)

Thought to have been originally introduced in Japan as early as the 6th century CE, taiko have been used and played in a wide range of applications ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment, and religious ceremony to both festival and concert performances.


In the modern day, Taiko performances usually usually occur in an emsemble formation, with multiple drums of varying sizes playing together. Drums range in size and style, from small, high-pitched, rope-tuned “Shimedaiko” to the largest taiko drum of all, the thundering “O-daiko”, which can measure more than 2 meters in diameter at the head. Taiko drums are played using “bachi”, sticks made from a range of woods and of varying sizes that effect the sound produced.

Pieces of taiko music are rarely learnt using traditional, written music notation. Instead, a method known as “kuchi shoga” is used to learn songs, where by the sounds of each drum are sung phonetically by the player.