Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Barack Obama and the DNC

Holy freakin’ cow, I just had one of the most amazing days ever! I performed as one of the “Drums of Unity” with Stevie Wonder and Take 6 at the Democratic National Convention. I can’t even believe it. Stevie Wonder and Take 6… Between the two that’s like 36 Grammys, 6 of the most amazing vocalists I’ve ever heard and ONE MUSIC GOD. DemConvention has posted this video as well as many others on YouTube. I had to watch it twice just to believe it actually happened.

Being a part of the “Drums of Unity” was very special. Munyungo Jackson on cajon, Fausto Cuevas on congas, Steve Haney on snare and tambourine, and Glen Ahhaitty and Mark Makai on Native American drums. I feel so humbled to have had the chance to share the stage with all of these amazing artists.

The atmosphere of the convention was absolutely phenomenal. 75,000 people is definitely the largest audience I’ve ever played for! Looking out from my drums into a sea of people was quite a moment.

After the performance I made my way onto the floor of Invesco Field to watch Obama’s speech. It was amazing to be a part of. A historic moment and Obama gave the most inspirational political speech I’ve ever heard. I’m filled a hope and optimism about our country that I’ve never felt before. This is definitely a day I’ll be telling my grandchildren about. “I was there when President Obama gave the speech that defined a generation… really… no really…” Finally a leader that seeks to inspire us to a higher purpose rather than speak down to us like a bunch of idiots.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe all of the places this art form has taken me. I’d like to thank Stevie Wonder and Munyungo Jackson for this amazing day and amazing opportunity!

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13 Responses to “Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Barack Obama and the DNC”

  1. kris says:

    Damn, now *that’s* a photograph! Great work, Shoj!!!

  2. alysse says:

    Congratulations Shoji! Unfortunately I missed the performance, but will definitely check out the clip on youtube :). You are so lucky to be a part of history!

  3. Righteously cool – congratulations, Shoji. As always, you sounded great!

  4. daniel says:

    my man! well done! you represent mt.s so well! we’re so thrilled that you got to be there in person for this defining moment of u.s. history and our imminent rebirth! much love to you and emi!

  5. crissy says:

    Shoj is the bomb and I am so honored to be his friend! You rock Shoji! You are THE PERFECT ONE to represent taiko at the DNC and everyone is proud of you! :) Thanks for representin’ so well. :)

  6. Carol says:

    It was so amazing! I recorded the whole evening from CSpan and was in tears watching your performance with Stevie and Take 6. Actually I was laughing and crying at the same time.

    Congratulations!

  7. Peter says:

    Imagine this — watching the DNC to cheer on Hawaii-born Barack! Stevie’s on stage…time to sing along…
    Peter: Hey, there’s a taiko.
    Merrily: Hey, that’s Shoji!!!
    P: Not…he’s got face hair.
    M: That IS Shoji!!!
    P: WOW WOW WOW !!!
    We’re so proud of you, and so thankful to you for trying so hard to teach us.

  8. shoji says:

    Hey all, thanks for all of the kind comments. Since the dnc gig I’ve been really touched by all the emails and messages of support. Thank you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed the performance…it came through great on tv in Cincinnati. I am a musician myself and I thought I heard a drum track. Was there a track or just all live.

  10. Heather says:

    YEA! I’m so THRILLED that was you!!!! Jay saw the taiko and we were trying to see who was playing…AWESOME that you were there for the history making. Thank you for helping to make that a special night for OBAMA, Biden and the masses!!! XO, H

  11. patrick graham says:

    Great job, Shoji.
    what a thrill that must have been…

  12. Iris says:

    Shoji! I was so proud watching you here in Minneapolis/St. Paul – was actually in a laundromat watching the DNC when I caught a glimpse of the taiko on the first pan, then caught you playing on the second pan through! A little scream of excitement! Looking forward to having you and On soon!

  13. Margie Morita says:

    OMG!!!!!!!! That WAS you!!!!! This has been on my mind now for months! I finally wrote to Kris to ask if I was suffering from some mental problem due to aging….. Wow! I was just minding my own business… getting ready to listen to Obama at the DNC. Then I noticed…… wow, they’ve got Hollywood well-represented there…. Stevie Wonder…. that’s great! ….. then… then… wait…. who is that guy playing a taiko drum??????? OMG!!!!!!!!! I know that guy!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then I thought…. wait a minute…. am I imagining this? NO WAY! ….. It was real!!!! You did a great job!…. and you looked so relaxed and happy. I’m soooo glad I saw you on national TV, no less! I’m sorry, but I’m of the OLD FART generation….. in the group shot, I’m sure they are all famous. But the only famous guys I see are Stevie Wonder …. and YOU!!!!!! :-)

    Well, you’ve made history…. and I know you’ll never forget this experience….. and now Democratic Candidate Barack Obama is our next President. What a historical event….. REALLY! I was 6 years old when President Kennedy began his term. As young as I was, I clearly remember him. He made a life-long impression on me. Then in 2004 at the DNC, Barack Obama appeared “out of nowhere”…. I heard his speech and knew he would be our president some day….. it was like hearing John F. Kennedy again. So, when Obama gave his acceptance speech this past week, all I could do was cry… What a historical event! …. and you were part of it!

    We make a lot of choices in our lives…. just never know where they will take us. Life is a wonderfully interesting journey….. ENJOY! Hope to see you soon… keep playing with your unique passion. It brings much joy to average people like me. Your loyal Sacramento Groupie….. Margie :-)

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