We are super excited about our upcoming collaborative concert series ‘Rotations’ with Ho Etsu Taiko on October 3rd and 4th at Chicago’s amazing Anthenaeum Theatre. I’ve been working with Ho Etsu Taiko fairly regularly for the past year when they brought me to work with their group in April of 2014. Since that time our relationship has continued to grow and the idea of this collaborative concert was born! We’ve been working on new music specifically for this concert and it’s going to be a great concert series!
Ho Etsu Taiko and On Ensemble
Saturday Oct 3rd 7:00pm and Sunday Oct 4th 2:00pm
2936 N. SOUTHPORT AVENUE
BOX OFFICE: 773-935-6875
We have a really great family friendly performance at Descanso Gardens this week! It’s part of the Descanso Garden’s World Rhythm series and we’ll be the last performance of this great summer series. The performance starts at 6:00pm and goes for an hour. It’s also free with admission to the gardens!
What an epic weekend of amazing taiko awesomeness! First of all I’d like to thank Jonathan, Lucy and all of the volunteers from Kagemusha and Tano Taiko that put so much work into making the festival a success. Also a huge shout out and thank you to the Kirby family for their incredible hospitality! The festival was packed with great performances and workshops. There was a concert of youth groups from around the UK on Friday night. A fun 10 groups play for 10 minutes style concert on Saturday during lunch and a full formal concert by Ikari Taiko from Osaka that evening. Then another intimate midday concert on Sunday featuring Ikari Taiko, The Genki Spark, Unit Souzou, Kagemusha Taiko and myself. During Saturday and Sunday Michelle, Toru and myself all taught workshops that were designed to complete each other as a workshop block. There were also the after parties, lots of hanging out and talking taiko and even an epic after after party that included a good number of us heading to the local night club and dancing the night away.
I have had so many interesting, inspiring and enlightening conversations and so many experiences to process that I’ll have to take some time to think on it all. I will say that I come away from the UK Taiko Festival amazingly inspired by the growth of the world wide taiko community and the people who make up the community.
After the festival concluded I spent the week with Kagemusha Taiko teaching two workshops then headed to London with the group and helped out on a corporate team building workshop that Jonathan ran with 3 other Kagemusha Taiko members. Having never had any kind of ‘real’ job the corporate world feels like a foreign country with it’s own unique language. It was very interesting to see how Jonathan applied taiko principles and practices in a way that was relevant to the group of employees who were assembled for the event. Watching the group who had never played taiko before play an entire piece and seeing their smiles and energy was a great reminder of the power of taiko to bring people together.
This weekend I’m in Germany for a weekend intensive at Schloss Buchenau. I’ll post more on it later but it’s been an amazing experience thus far! Taiko people are my kind of people and I constantly feel blessed to be able to travel the world to teach, meet and hang out with taiko peeps! Will post more on this soon!
Ian has added two more videos from the Taiko Heroes concert! The first is an On Ensemble standard, “After Rain”. I’m praying for rain right now as I listen to it.
The second, “June”, is by our own Eien Hunter-Ishikawa. Eien is a great musician and has added so much depth to the music. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Eien well and he’s just an overall amazing dude. He teaches us the many ways of beer, food/cooking, and life. Oh yeah… and music too… =) he’s pretty good at that. Abe absolutely kills it at the end. How do you do that??? These two dudes are amazing.
Tomorrow I’m headed to Las Vegas for the 2015 North American Taiko Conference! I’ll be teaching two workshops at the conference and leading a performance for a group of kaDON subscribers from around the world who are going to help debut a new piece that I wrote for kaDON! We are also debuting a new piece of taiko equipment that I’ve been helping develop for kaDON at the taiko conference!
The taiko conference is always a great way to reconnect with the taiko community and I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends and meeting new taiko people!
I’ve finally updated the calendar with our summer of crazy taiko madness! I’ll be teaching at the North American Taiko Conference this coming weekend then will be teaching and performing at the UK Taiko Festival July 3-5th followed by a taiko intensive held in Germany from July 10-12! After that it’ll be off to Hawai’i for a week long Summer Taiko Intensive from July 20-24th. Maz will be performing with Taikoproject and Shasta Taiko at Shastayama on August 1st. Then he’ll be headed to Hawai’i for a series of workshops from Aug 7-10th! We’ll end the summer with an On Ensemble performance at Descanso Gardens on August 4th then we’ll be heading out to Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis in the fall. I’ll update the calendar again soon with more dates!
Back in 2010 a good friend and super talented puppet filmmaker Sam Koji Hale put together a short film for our track ‘Yamasong’ off of the album ‘Ume in the Middle’.
The first moment I read one of Sam’s ideas for ‘Yamasong’ I knew he’d be the perfect person to put visuals to our music. Fast forward 5 years and Sam has now taken the world of Yamasong and developed it into a feature length film! The full length film will follow events of the short film and greatly expands the world of Nani and Shojun. Sam has gotten an amazing cast of vocal talent for Yamsong including: Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Abigail Breslin (Maggie), Whoopi Goldberg (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Peter Weller (Robocop), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), George Takei (Star Trek), Ed Asner (Up), and Bruce Davison (X-Men). I’m such a huge Firefly and Star Trek and Star Trek TNG fan and when I heard that Mal, Mr. Sulu and Guinan were going to be a part of Yamasong I almost fainted. I’ll be posting more about the music that I’m creating for the film soon but in the meantime enjoy the awesome trailer!