On Ensemble: Taiko Heroes Concert

October 10th, 2014 | posted by:


The story thus far…
30 years ago two childhood friends picked up the bachi for the first time. Trained by taiko masters in the mountains of Northern California, the islands of Hawai’i and the streets of Tokyo, Shoji and Maz set off into the world to gather their own team of taiko heroes. Many answered the call of the drum. Kris the vegan, bike commuting, namer of phrases was the first join. Then Eien the beer sensei, master of the atarigane and vibraphone answered the call. From the islands of Hawai’i Abe the smiling multi instrumentalist assassin joined the group. Finally David a taiko hero from the next generation emerged to become a member. Their group complete Shoji and Maz set off to create a new sound that would bring together their experiences playing in rock bands, producing electronic music, studying gamelan and traveling around the world learning and performing. They practiced their melodies, odd meter grooves and improvisational skills and their group of taiko heroes became known throughout the land as On Ensemble.

Join us for two nights of great music at the Miles Memorial Playhouse.

On Ensemble: Taiko Heroes Concert
Friday Oct 24th 8:00pm
Saturday Oct 25th 8:00pm

$25 General Admission
Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Recent book reviews — October 2014

October 19th, 2014 | posted by:

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Taiko Tonal Territory workshop video

October 14th, 2014 | posted by:

Our friend Margaret McKenty made a video from the workshop I taught at World Taiko Gathering. We had a great time exploring some of the non-standard sounds possible on the taiko.

Thank you, Margaret!

Taiko at CicLAvia was a success!

October 9th, 2014 | posted by:


The taiko trailer worked! Thanks to the strong legs of Hiro, Jason, and Yuta, we rode Alphonse (the recumbent tandem) and the trailer with two drums from Torrance to downtown LA. LATI students met us downtown and we rode a portion of the course playing the Tally Ho! groove. The CicLAvia atmosphere was amazing, as always, with thousands of bikes and smiling faces. And folks loved the taiko!

Thank you to Bent Up Cycles, Henry James Bicycles and Andres Lopez for the fabrication help, Kerry and Yuta for the video and photos, and everyone else who made this possible! Looking forward to the next one!

Chico World Music Festival

September 13th, 2014 | posted by:

We had a great gig at POPS Dunsmuir tonight. Maz, Jeanne and Russel opened the concert with a trio set of taiko and saxophone improvisation. On Ensemble played the second half to a great audience of supporters and fans. It’s always nice to come back and play for the hometown crowd!

Today we’re performing at the Chico World Music Festival at 2 and 5pm. The best part of the festival is that it’s FREE so come by if you are in the Chico area!

On Ensemble at the Chico World Music Festival
CSU Chico

Suzuki Sensei is coming to LATI!

September 10th, 2014 | posted by:


While Maz and Shoj are off on tour, I’m holding down the fort here at home. Things at Los Angeles Taiko Institute have been fantastic, and I’m pleased to announce that Suzuki Sensei will be coming to the Institute this month to teach an intensive on Shishi Mai (lion dance) and the accompanying music in a workshop on fue (flute) and a workshop on taiko. A number of us will be taking all three. We’re really excited!

Suzuki Sensei’s lion dance emphasizes the cat-like nature of the shishi, with a full range of gestures from high energy hopping and lunging, to licking the fur and napping. In short, we love Suzuki Sensei’s shishi mai! He’s also an amazing musician and accomplished flutist. Maz and Shoj studied flute with Suzuki Sensei, and he performs regularly with Kenny Endo and other taiko greats.

Yuta and the other LATI staff and I will be making practice lion masks for the participants of the two-day intensive, where Suzuki Sensei will give 12 hours of instruction. We plan to make this the beginning of an ongoing relationship with Suzuki Sensei, with annual visits to help us improve our shishi mai and musicality. Join us and start learning from the beginning!

Recent book reviews — September 2014

September 9th, 2014 | posted by:

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On Ensemble at POPS Dunsmuir

September 9th, 2014 | posted by:

We’ve been having a great tour so far! Started up in Seattle with three WAA showcases then drove all night to get to Bend OR where we performed at Crows Feet Common. On Sunday night we had a great performance at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and will be performing at POPS in Dunsmuir, CA with Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba of Shasta Taiko this Friday Sept 12th at 7:30pm!

On Ensemble with Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer
Friday Sept 12th, 7:30pm
POPS Dunsmuir
Admission $10
5819 Sacramento Ave.
Dunsmuir, CA

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