Suns Out, Drums Out


Skyline celebrated diversity with bright textiles, thunderous drum beats and tiny paper crafts at the Global Extravaganza on April 30 held by the International Student Program. The Skyline community was particularly captivated by the Taiko performance, a Japanese drumming ensemble led by Kristy Oshiro with the San Mateo Buddhist Temple.

“I named this song ‘Kare’ because it is inspired by my favorite food, Japanese curry,” Oshiro said. “It’s very satisfying; kind of comforting, like comforting rhythms.”

She and four other drummers slowly raised their drumsticks in unison and a member behind them began a suspenseful drumbeat. Their arms crashed down in harmony and a variation of tempo and intensity mimicked the mix of rice, vegetables and sauce found in a curry dish, according to Oshiro. The group’s synchronicity and exaggerated body movements prompted about two-thirds of the audience to pull out their smartphones and document the experience.

Prior to “Kare”, Oshiro invited Skyline students to experience the commanding percussion for themselves. She handed the drumsticks over and helped everyone find the right tempo and hand motion. The participants began smiling at themselves when they realized the power of their motions and the audience watched with wide-eyed fascination. The weight of the world seemed to pause during the immersive Japanese experience and the energy of the drums echoed across campus.

“The best part was at the end of our song, when we were moving altogether, at the same time,” Skyline student Khalid Aljehani said about the experience.

The Global Extravaganza was a sunny afternoon of diversity and unity in the quad, and Oshiro offered a free Taiko class to any Skyline member at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple. Her class schedule can be found online along with a Youtube video of her drumming in the background of a Wiz Khalifa performance (skip to 2:57 to see her in action).

The excitement of the drums lingered after the performance finished and students moved from booth to booth as they tasted snacks and made crafts from across the globe.