Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Corporate Gig

My all-women's taiko group in Hong Kong often accepts corporate gigs.  They pay well and help us pay for taiko maintenance.  How does it really go down though?  Something like this:

We'd like at least 6 players.  Can you send us a photo of the performers?

(we send pics)

Um... Do you have more Asian players?  Can you change your hair to all look the same?  We don't like your costumes.  Do you have different ones?  Please make sure everyone is under the age of 25 and thin as a toothpick.

Okay, so that's a bit of a compilation (but no exaggeration!).  To be honest, Hong Kong is full of corporations--having gigs like these help make the group sustainable.  Our reply was usually, "Sorry.  This is what we can offer."  The most frustrating thing for gigs like these, however, is when they start to make requirements about the music.

With production companies in charge, aiming to please a client, it's difficult to take a stand.  Please play along with this track of music from 0:00-0:37, making lots of "noise" at the beginning, then don't play for 1 minute, play again for 45 seconds, rest for 38.528475 seconds, and finish with lots of "noise."  We need to make the money, but when did we stop playing taiko??

Does your group encounter situations like this and how do you handle them?  Who decides which gigs are accepted and do you ever say no?

Here's a video of one such gig with dressing and make up for a bit of fun:


  1. Hi Carrie, wow! Good blog entry. We face the same thing for corporate or community gigs. "Fontomfrom drummers shouldn't be women, or should be black, or should be African, or should be Ghanaian, or should be Ashanti, or should be more fierce, and could we fix that?" We are all on fire for what we love...and that fire is what makes the music authentic - Susan B.

  2. We also get dumb request, but can afford to be more picky on our performances. I have friends in other groups that will just take any gig and bend over backwards to please their clients, then later complain to me about it. -Eric from TORA

  3. Yes we have the same thing here in the UK. If you're not. Japanese, they will go elsewhere :)