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We are thrilled that Angela K. Ahlgren’s long-awaited book Drumming Asian America: Taiko, Performance, and Cultural Politics was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. Her book explores how ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation inform taiko players’ activities, especially in the Midwest where she was most active as a taiko player and conducted much of her ethnographic research. But her book is much, much more than a local ethnography!
Angie opens up a truly intersectional way to think and talk about taiko. She draws her ideas from Asian American Studies in really fresh and needed ways. She takes a close look at PJ Hirabayashi’s “Ei Ja Nai Ka?” She talks with White and African American women to learn how they think about their place in taiko. She offers a model for how to acknowledge that taiko is powerfully and creatively queered by some players. She writes with joy and affection about Mu Daiko and Mu Performing Arts. Any taiko player will be thrilled by her close attention to Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Sascha Molina, the members of Mu Daiko, and many other women in the taiko community.
She approaches taiko as a form that provides many kinds of women with Asian American tools for cultural production. This book moves me and inspires me.
— Deborah Wong