UK Taiko Festival Awesomeness

July 10th, 2015 | posted by:

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.

ukTF2

UKtf3

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.

uktf4

UkTF1

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!

Subscribe to our mailing list

Two New Videos from Taiko Heroes!

June 23rd, 2015 | posted by:

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.

Enjoy the videos!

NATC 2015

June 10th, 2015 | posted by:

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!

Summer Taiko Madness!

June 8th, 2015 | posted by:

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!

Yamasong Soundtrack

May 8th, 2015 | posted by:

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!


YAMASONG: MARCH OF THE HOLLOWS TRAILER from Dark Dunes Productions on Vimeo.

yamasong_poster copy

Minneapolis and Chicago Update

May 8th, 2015 | posted by:

I spent the last week in Minneapolis working with Mu Daiko and then Chicago working with Ho Etsu Taiko. Last year Ho Etsu Taiko was the first group I taught Lion Chant to outside of On Ensemble. Working with them was instrumental in developing the piece for other taiko groups and they helped me debut Lion Chant at the World Taiko Gathering last summer. This year they are bringing On Ensemble to Chicago in the fall for a series of concerts and we are using the work we did together last year as a foundation for developing new pieces and putting together a truly collaborative concert series.

With Mu Daiko I started teaching them Lion Chant, worked on Ready Set kaDON and material for another collaborative concert in the fall! I was amazed at how much we got accomplished over the weekend. The artistic director Jennifer Weir had been using the kaDON courses to prepare her group for our workshop time together very well. The result was that we got so much further with each of the pieces than we would’ve if I had just come to teach the pieces. Usually in a weekend of workshops I would be happy to teach the basic kecak part of Lion Chant and the exercises to get those parts nice and solid without worrying about the arrangement. Instead because of the prep work Jennifer and Mu Daiko did we were able to get through all of Ready Set kaDON, Lion Chant and part of another song in a weekend of working together.

It is really exciting to see how kaDON resources are being used in the community and SO EXCITING to realize just how much more can be accomplished in short periods of time working with a group using kaDON. As a workshop leader I’ve often felt the limitations of teaching within the workshop format. You have to keep what you teach very simple and it is hard to get to the deeper and more involved aspects of the art form. It often feels like I’m just scratching the surface. The depth can come from working with the same people repeatedly over a longer period of time and it is super exciting to be able to get to that depth much more quickly because people are using kaDON as a resource. It is very inspiring and inspires me to keep working on making kaDON the best resource it can be for the taiko community!

New Video: Lion Chant

April 6th, 2015 | posted by:

Hi all.  A new video has been posted from the Taiko Heroes concert series!  Lion Chant, composed by Shoji.  I’d like to personally thank my childhood best friend, Ian Mora, who filmed and put these videos together.  Ian and I were such good friends in elementary school that I think we became a nuisance to our teachers and we were never in the same class after fourth grade.  Ian was always naturally talented for everything he did and film was always one of his loves.  We made all sorts of stupid home videos when we were young that were quite awesome, if I must say.  Ian is a much better actor than I am, but he always had to direct the videos, so I was often the main actor with our other bad actor friends.  So embarrassing!  From Kung Fu videos to claymation, we had a great time.  Ian was also in Shasta Taiko and we were also in a rock band together called “King Gorira”.  If we didn’t have those things growing up, we would have gotten in all sorts of trouble!



You can learn Lion Chant at kaDON with online courses from the creator himself.  There are other lessons you can take from Shoji, Kenny Endo, and Kaoru Watanabe.

Stay tuned for more videos!

New Video : Verdugo Hills

March 12th, 2015 | posted by:

In the next few weeks we’ll be posting new videos! The fist sets of videos comes from our friend and filmmaker Ian Mora. We grew up playing taiko with Ian and he came to our Taiko Heroes concert last October and put together these great videos. More coming soon!



On Ensemble is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).