Taiko performers from around the world rehearse a performance of "HERbeat: Taiko Women All-Stars" during a rehearsal inside of Taiko Arts Midwest in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2020. Credit: Evan Frost | MPR News 2020

To continue reading this article and others for free, please sign up for our newsletter.

Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news for and with immigrants and communities of color—the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else.

Unlock our in-depth reporting by signing up for our free newsletter.

Success! You're on the list.

This story comes to you from MPR News through a partnership with Sahan Journal.

Arts and culture enthusiast Tommy Sar of St. Paul recommends checking out the screening of a new documentary centering women and nonbinary people in Taiko drumming. Filmed in Minnesota and Japan, “Finding Her Beat” makes its state premiere this weekend during the Sound Unseen film festival.

For centuries, only men were allowed to take part in the traditional Japanese art form of Taiko drumming. That has changed in recent years. Sar remembers when performers gathered at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul several years ago, which is featured in the film. Sar called the documentary of the performers’ Taiko journeys “moving and powerful,” with high-energy performances.

“Finding Her Beat ” trailer: For thousands of years women have been locked out of Taiko drumming. Not anymore. In the dead of a Minnesota winter, Asian drumming divas smash gender roles and redefine power on their own terms. “Finding Her Beat” dives into the rhythms and struggles that lead to an electrifying historic performance that changes everything.

The first showing of the film on Friday has sold out, but there is a second showing Sunday at 8:15 p.m. at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. Virtual tickets are also available.

Jazz guitarists

Amateur guitarist Chuck House of St. Paul plans to attend the next concert in the Minnesota Guitar Society’s new Jazz and Fingerstyle Guitar Concert series. The concert on November 15 features two talented local guitar duos playing hot club jazz.

At 6 p.m. the Red Hot Django Peppers duo Ryan Picone and Jose Betanzos show off the intricate fingerwork and swinging rhythms of late Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt. Famous for his improvisations, Reinhardt didn’t write his compositions down. Instead this Twin Cities duo will play a mix of original arrangements and tunes adopted from recordings by Reinhardt and his fans.

From 7 to 9 p.m., guitarists Pavel Jany and Dean Harrington take the stage with a variety of styles including swing.

The event is free, but seating is limited at MetroNOME Brewery in St. Paul.

YouTube video
Lulu Swing-Ryan Picone and Jose Betanzos: This performance is a very special recording session at the Baby Blue Arts broadcasting studio with Ryan Picone and Jose Betanzos. This concert is based on a special selection of Ryan and Jose’s favorite tunes they play in their band The Red Hot Django Peppers.

Drawings and clay figures

As an artist in southwestern Minnesota, Lucy Tokheim of Dawson has seen the ripple effect first-hand of the long career of Franz Allbert Richter in nearby Clarkfield. Richter, who recently turned 80, worked closely with Minnesota poets Robert Bly and Bill Holm, creating drawings from many of Bly’s books during the Seventies Press period.

A collection of Franz Allbert Richter’s pencil drawings and clay folk figures, titled “A Life in Art,” is at Madison Mercantile, which has a gallery space, in Madison, Minnesota. The show’s opening is November 17 at 7 p.m., when Pioneer PBS will interview fans of Richter’s work for a “Postcards” episode to air next year. The work will be on view through the month of November.

Tokheim notes that many of Richter’s drawings from the 1970s and 80s were completed at a time when good art photography was scarce, making it difficult to preserve copies of original drawings. She says this gathering of even a portion of Richter’s work is a great opportunity.


Emily Bright is a newscaster at MPR News