I am the Founder and Leader of Taiko West, the Taiko Drumming organisation for the West Midlands and the Borders. I have been playing Taiko since 1986, and teaching in the UK since 1993. In addition, I have 12 years experience of full-time (TEFL) teaching as a class teacher, as Director of Studies, and Vice-Principal.

I am currently leading one of the largest Taiko education projects in the UK – The Taiko West Schools & Communities Project.  See Courses page for more info.

1986-1990: Only Taiko Teacher in the UK and to date the only person in the country with an offcial licence (Menkyo) from a traditional Japanese Taiko Preservation Society. (Hiroshima 1986-1990)

1993: Set up the first regularly performing traditional Taiko group on the UK, Akatsuki Daiko, in Reading, Berkshire.

1996: Jointly set up the first Taiko Course for adults in the UK with Mark Alcock at Gyosei School of Taiko.

1995-2001: Extensive live performance experience, including at the Barbican, Purcell Rooms and WOMAD with Joji Hirota.

1997-1998: Only Taiko Teacher in the UK with professional qualification in leading community music workshops (Goldmsiths College, University of London).

1999 – 2001: Set up Taiko Wales then Taiko West respectively.

2005-2006: Sold out shows at Queen Elizabeth Hall as guest player with London’s “Taiko Meantime” on UK & European Tours with Henri Oguike Dance Company. 

2010: Co-founder and Artistic Director of Wem Taiko Festival, & since 2016 of the Midlands Taiko Day

2012: Re-launched Taiko Wales in conjunction with co-leaders Ursula Frank & Heather Murray of Taiko Mynydd Du.

2014: Launched the Taiko West Schools and Community Project.

James Barrow
Founder and Leader at Taiko West