Taiko Heroes 3 – SOLD OUT!

October 8th, 2016 | posted by:

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Taiko Heroes 3

8:00 pm, December 3, 2016
Live Arts Los Angeles
4210 Panamint St (on the corner of Eagle Rock Blvd)
Los Angeles, CA 90065

TICKETS HERE:  Eventbrite

A time to reflect on the year with current favorites and bring in the new year with new work, Taiko Heroes is returning on December 3rd, 2016 at Live Arts Los Angeles!  This year, On Ensemble is featuring our good friend, Kaoru Watanabe from New York to present new material from his album Néo.  He will be joined by Yuta Sumiyoshi, one of the young featured stars of the iconic Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble Kodo and Fumi Tanakadate, a multifaceted musician based in New York City.

Established in 2002, On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko (Japanese drumming) world. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble is recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central asian overtone singing. Their fearless musical exploration has expanded the artistic range of the taiko and has taken these ancient instruments into new realms.

Kaoru Watanabe is one of the most innovative performers on Japanese shinobue flutes and taiko drums.  He seamlessly combines traditional ritual and theater musics of Japan with the complex compositional and improvisational elements of jazz and other western musics.

Yuta Sumiyoshi entered the Kodo Apprentice Centre in 2010, and became a Kodo member in 2013.  Despite being a newcomer, he was selected for important soloist positions from his very first tour, including the coveted role of O-daiko.  Known by colleagues as Kodo’s “sound maker,” Sumiyoshi specializes in nimble drumstick work, and is always enhancing the musicality of performance pieces

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On Ensemble at Arts Northwest 2016

October 3rd, 2016 | posted by:

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On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko (Japanese drumming) world. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble is recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central asian overtone singing. Their fearless musical exploration has expanded the artistic range of the taiko and has taken these ancient instruments into new realms. The group’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived. (Brian Moore, TransformOnline)

Arts Northwest Juried Showcase
Mark Woldson Theater at the FOX
Wednesday, October 12, 20162:45 pm

What presenters are saying:
“On Ensemble brought their virtuosity of the taiko art to the SummerSounds stage. They worked collaboratively, efficiently, and never missed an opportunity to make the performance better. Shoji and the crew were more than accommodating to the production’s musical needs and rose to meet each challenge with enthusiasm and flair. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with On Ensemble again, as their professionalism and mastery in their craft is unparalleled.” – Sarah Little, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

“On Ensemble was a pleasure to present and the concert program was extremely well received by the students and teachers. Infusing the art form of taiko with a myriad of influences, the music is unique and compelling. The members are remarkable musicians and have a true passion for their work. Beyond their energetic music, one highlight of the performance was a question and answer session with the young audience, which the ensemble approached with sincerity and encouragement. With outstanding musicianship and thought-provoking discussion, it was exactly the kind of experience we strive to offer our participants… I would recommend On Ensemble highly for any presenter looking for an engaging and enlightening world-music ensemble.” – Theresa Willis Peters, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA

“The Aratani World Series was thrilled to have On Ensemble in our inaugural season. This company delivers a diverse and artistically mind blowing performance. Shoji Kameda does an excellent job contextualizing the program from the stage and every member is spot on in terms of virtuosic technique and theatrical presentation. Audiences jumped to their feet begging for more. A young, energetic program with broad appeal, we were proud to present On Ensemble.” – Judy Mitoma, World Festival of Sacred Music

Represented by:
Rachel Cohen, Cadence Arts Network
Booth number: ANW 37B
ph: 310 701 9191
email: rachel@cadencearts.com
http://www.cadencearts.com

ShastaYama 2016!

August 2nd, 2016 | posted by:

After our last performance at SummerSounds, we got in our cars and drove straight up to Mt. Shasta for ShastaYama.  A long 10 hour drive up I-5 in 110 degree weather, we arrived around midnight and checked in Eien, Sumie, and Abe into their hotel.  I went to my parents’ with my wife, Courtney (who is the best for supporting me and On over the years), and Shoji went home to his parents’.  We all got a few hours of sleep and then had a morning tech rehearsal.  The weather was starting to get nice and toasty.  Close to 100 degrees!

Nevertheless, ShastaYama was magical as always.  This year, Shasta Taiko, Taiko Trekkers, Tadaima (my mom and dad’s jazz group with Gary Fitzgerald), Steve Cervantes, and Unit Souzou performed and we closed the show.  It’s always the best to perform for the home crowd!

ShastaYama will always make me emotional because it’s home!  My mom and dad, Jeanne and Russel, obviously mean a lot to me, and to pull ShastaYama off for 10 plus years is quite a feat.  Plus, it means I get to perform with them, my bro, Shoji, my wife, and some of the best people and musicians in the world.  I will always treasure these memories that have built up over the years.

We also had a photo shoot in the beautiful countryside of Mt. Shasta.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results.  Stay tuned!

After the photo shoot, Abe and Courtney drove back to LA, Eien dropped Sumie off at the Medford airport on the way back to Portland, and Shoji and I are staying to work on some new material.

It was a great tour.  Full of awesome music, beer, food, and company.  Thanks to all for helping us along the way!

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Getting some dinner and hanging out with bears and a statue of sasquatch at Granzella’s!

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Circling up before the show.

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Me and my mom!

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Dad on the sax.

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A view of the audience.

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On Ensemble takes the stage!

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Abe and Sumie hanging out at the photo shoot!

SummerSounds Recap

July 29th, 2016 | posted by:

On July 18, Sumie flew in and Eien drove in to meet up with Shoji, Abe, and I to start rehearsals for LAPhil’s SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl and for ShastaYama.

For SummerSounds, we had two performances everyday from July 25 – July 29 for countless kids and their parents.  It was a challenge for us as we had some acting to do.  Actually, it was more of a challenge for Shoji as he had most of the lines.  Good job Shoji!  In short, the story was about Japanese taiko, our instruments, and our music.  We traveled from Japan to Los Angeles with Smith (the new Summer Sounds guide) to visit Mr. K (the retiring Summer Sounds guide) and convince him to love our music.  Special thanks to the Summer Sounds staff and all the ushers for helping us load in and load up every day!  It was a blast.

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Awesome backdrop!

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Jammin’ on Lion Chant.

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Sumie and Mr. K.  “Mr. K, please don’t improvise on my koto!”

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This made me super happy.  The Kodama were hiding in the bamboo in the backdrop!

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Photo op with one of our fans!

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It’s a wrap!  The ushers helped us every day!  Mr. K was amazing.  We miss you, Smith!

Preparing for SummerSounds

July 24th, 2016 | posted by:

We’ve just spent a week preparing for our run of performances at LAPHil’s SummerSounds series. The series is geared for children age 3-11 and it’s hosted by two characters Mr. K and Ms. Smith. We’ve been working with the amazing SummerSounds creative staff to put together this show and it should be a lot of fun. The actors, writer and director have all been fantastic to work with and it’s a very insightful way to introduce world music to young audiences. I’ve also been working on another theatrical project that I’ll post about soon and whenever I work with actors or writers from the theater world in LA I’m just floored by the level of talent in this city.

Later this week we’ll be headed up to Mt. Shasta to perform at Shastayama! I also have a ton of other projects to post about and catch you all up on and we are starting the process of redesigning the website. Will be posting more soon!

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On Ensemble performing at SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl

July 24th, 2016 | posted by:

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Next week we’ll be performing at the Hollywood Bowl as a part of LAPhil’s SummerSounds. SummerSounds is a fun-filled four week series of lively concerts, combined with art workshops. Each concert is hosted by the dynamic duo of Mr. K and Ms. Smith who lead you on a journey to discover music dance and art from cultures all around the world!

We’ll be performing next week from July 25-29 twice daily at 10:00am and 11:15am. Tickets are $16 and more info can be found at: http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/summersounds-2016

On Ensemble at APAP 2016

January 11th, 2016 | posted by:

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ON ENSEMBLE
Established in 2002 On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko (Japanese drumming) world. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble is recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central asian overtone singing. Their fearless musical exploration has expanded the artistic range of the taiko and has taken these ancient instruments into new realms. The group’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.” On Ensemble was the first American taiko group to be invited to perform at the National Theater of Japan for the prestigious Nihon no Taiko concert series.

Shoji and Maz were taught taiko at an early age (8 and 6) by Maz’ parents, accomplished taiko players and jazz musicians Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba. The duo has been playing and making music together for over 30 years and are recognized as two of the brightest stars in the taiko world. Together with the other members of On Ensemble they combine their study and deep appreciation of Japanese traditional music with equally formative experiences as DJs, electronic music producers, and rock bassists to produce, record and perform some of the most compelling and creative taiko music.

APAP Showcases
Saturday January 16th: 8:20pm and 9:20pm
Morgan Suite, 2nd Floor, NY Hilton

On Ensemble Performance with Kaoru Watanabe and Sumie Kaneko
Sunday January 17th: 6:00pm
Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place Brooklyn NY 11215

What Presenters are saying:
“The Aratani World Series was thrilled to have On Ensemble in our inaugural season. This company delivers a diverse and artistically mind blowing performance. Shoji Kameda does an excellent job contextualizing the program from the stage and every member is spot on in terms of virtuosic technique and theatrical presentation. Audiences jumped to their feet begging for more. A young, energetic program with broad appeal, we were proud to present On Ensemble.”
Judy Mitoma
, Series Producer and Curator, World Festival of Sacred Music

“On Ensemble was a pleasure to present and the concert program was extremely well received by the students and teachers. Infusing the art form of taiko with a myriad of influences, the music is unique and compelling. The members are remarkable musicians and have a true passion for their work. Beyond their energetic music, one highlight of the performance was a question and answer session with the young audience, which the ensemble approached with sincerity and encouragement. With outstanding musicianship and thought-provoking discussion, it was exactly the kind of experience we strive to offer our participants… I would recommend On Ensemble highly for any presenter looking for an engaging and enlightening world-music ensemble.
Theresa Willis Peters, 
Program Coordinator, Design for Sharing

“The contemporary music of On Ensemble blended with traditional Taiko made this a totally new experience! Aside from the incredible talent and energy of the On Ensemble, we found them to be a presenter’s dream. From their enthusiastic outreach performance to the question and answer session that followed, the On Ensemble was a total joy!”
Marlene Hendrickson
, University of Montana Presents

Represented by: Rahcel Cohen, Cadence Arts Network, APAP Booth 1022
ph: 310 701 9191 email: rachel@cadencearts.com

Up Next: Taiko Heroes 2

November 16th, 2015 | posted by:

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A long time ago in a mountain town far far away… Two childhood friends grew up playing taiko together dreaming of far of destinations. When they were of age they set off to learn from the great taiko masters seeking them out in islands across the sea. They gathered knowledge, honed their skills and gathered more like minded musicians from across the land and became known as On Ensemble. Every year they set off across the galaxy in their modified (with duct tape) Toyota Engineering Corporation Sienna Model Light Freighter to spread their message of music.

It’s time for our annual concert series at the Miles Memorial Playhouse! Taiko Heroes is a chance for us to put together new material and gather friends and family to have one last concert before the year ends. It started as our ‘Works In Progress’ series and it still serves as our own creative space to try new arrangements and pieces. Recently we’ve also expanded the idea to include more people from the On Ensemble family! This year we’ll be featuring On Ensemble founding member and current LATI head instructor Kristofer Bergstrom as a guest artist as well as PROTA a young taiko group that is full of some of SoCals best young taiko talent! See you there!

Taiko Heroes 2
On Ensemble / Kris Bergstrom / PROTA
December 19th 8:00pm
December 20th 2:00pm
Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
General Admission: $22.50 pre-sale/$25 door



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