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Taiko drumming was once a ritual meant to scare away military foes, repel evil spirits, and encourage crops to grow. After World War II, except for its traditional role in Buddhist shrines, taiko became a performative art. Taiko ensembles, trained in martial arts and exemplifying Buddhist principles of interdependence, began to form throughout Japan. Since the early ’70s, an even newer Japanese-American style of taiko has blossomed. One of the leading American companies is San Jose Taiko. The first American unit ever invited to tour Japan, San Jose features women percussionists; adds Latin, African, and Balinese inflections to traditional Japanese rhythms; and uses choreography influenced by Motown. Offering neither a slavish imitation nor a bland Americanization of Japanese culture, San Jose marches proudly to the unique booming beats of its own drummers. The ensemble performs at 8 p.m. at the George Mason University Center for the Arts’ Concert Hall, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax. $20-$30. (703) 218-6500. (Steve Kiviat)