Archive for January, 2009

Yogyakarta part 3

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

kealiiWow, it’s been an amazing couple of days filled with great food and art!  Each of the four fellows on this program is teaching at a different school in the Yogyakarta area and we’ve been doing joint performances at these schools.  One of the fellows is kumu hula Keali’i Ceballos and my favorite part of the presentation is watching all the students and teachers squeal in delight as he makes his scantily clad entrance.  Then when the hips start swaying it’s sheer pandemonium…

Another fun part of the presentation is playing taiko for Viji Prakash’s dance as she tells the story of Arjuna and Krishna from the Mahabarata.  Every school we have gone to has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and appreciated.  The performances have been packed and it’s been great sharing the stage with such a diverse group of artists and getting such positive feedback from the students we present to.

We’ve also been teaching everyday and I have a really great group of students.  They have been so eager to learn and it has been a real joy teaching them.  So far we’ve gotten through “Renshu Taiko” in just four days!  Of course I would be lost without my two new friends Tony and Sigit who have the job of translating for me and making sure I get from one place to the other.  All of our support staff here in Yogya has been so good to us and we would be so lost without them.

Survey: Taiko Conference Workshops

Monday, January 26th, 2009

This August the North American Taiko Conference returns to Los Angeles!  Every two years the taiko community rallies together to create the Taiko Conference, an amazing weekend of taiko workshops and performances, with players, teachers, and taiko enthusiasts from around the world.  The JACCC will be hosting the Conference again, and a number of us are volunteering to help with the planning and preparations.

One of the first challenges is to determine what workshops and taiko topics we’d like facilitators to offer during the Conference.  Toward this end, we are asking past participants to give us feedback.

In the comments below, let us know!  Thank you for your input!

In past Taiko Conferences, what workshops were particularly good?

Yogyakarta part 2

Monday, January 26th, 2009

imogiri1Today was the first day of teaching of teaching at the schools we’ll be at for the next three weeks.  The school I’m teaching at is in Imogiri an area that was hit hard by the 2006 earthquake.

I had the students make practice taiko from tires and tape and had them sand and prepare their batchi.  I have 25 students from three schools in the area and they are a really great group of kids.

After dinner I went out with two new friends Toni and Sigit to check out the local jazz scene.  I didn’t know what to expect but it was really cool.  There is a whole community of young musicians in Yogya that are really into jazz.  Every Monday night they gather to play at this outdoor cafe and I had a lot of fun improvising and talking with some of the local musicians.  Yogya is one of the art centers of Java and It seems like everyone I meet here is into the arts in some way. The more I see of the music scene here the more I’m falling in love with this place.

We’re home!

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Well, I’m a few days late to blog about it, but Maz and I survived the big drive home.  We did three workshops and four private/small group lessons along the way.  The weather was surprisingly good… Denver was 71 degrees on Wednesday!  For once on the trip, I was properly dressed in my shorts.  :)



Yogyakarta part 1

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

yogya_graffiti1Whew…  So the day that Kris and Maz got back to Los Angeles from the East Coast I headed to LAX for a red-eye flight..  Twenty some odd hours later Viji, Craig (two of the other fellows on this program) and I landed in Yogyakarta.  I’ll be spending the next three weeks here teaching middle school children taiko and giving performance, lecture demo and workshops with the three other fellows.  This program was put together by the amazing Judy Mitoma and the Center for Intercultural Performance, the same organization who organized the APPEX program that I was lucky enough be a part of back in 2006.

world_crossover_posterThis morning we met with Jeannie Park another of the organizers of this program and headed to the theater in order to prepare for tonight’s concert “World Crossover”.  The concert was hosted by ISI Yogakarta, this area’s performing arts college, and featured a folk dance group from Hungary, a contemporary dance troupe from Malaysia’s National Arts Academy, a tango duo from Argentina, a collaboration between four well known Indonesian musicians and a short performance by each of the Center for Intercultural Performance fellows.  It was a lot of fun to be a part of.

My favorite part of the concert was the improvisational piece featuring four well known Indonesian musicians: I Wayan Sadra, Trustho, Djaduk Ferianto and Sapto Raharjo.  Using a combination of traditional instruments, found objects, and samplers, they created these beautiful landscapes and scenes that flowed effortlessly from one to the other.  Each musician was so tasteful and sensitive it was the kind of music that musicians love.

It’s really great being back in Indonesia and I’ll post more soon!

Back in LA!!!

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

We’re back in LA!  After Denver, we headed to Moab, UT to conduct some private lessons with Moab Taiko Dan members.  I had some time in the evening, so I went running which was tougher than I thought because first of all, I’m out of shape and have been sitting in a van, and second, because of the elevation.  I think it’s like 4,000 or 5,000 feet there.  It was nice to get some excercise.  Thanks again to Joan and Scott for housing us!

The next morning, Kris had some lessons at 4am!  Then I came at 6am at continued teaching them Omiyage.  We hit the road a little after 7am and drove pretty much straight to LA with a few gas/restroom stops.  Kris helped me finish my rice cakes which I bought somewhere… I can’t remember… Anyways, I thought I would never finish them.  For some reason they seem to last forever.  Like a bottomless bag of rice cakes… yuck…

What’s next for us?  We have some school gigs in the LA area then have our big concert at Cerritos with Kenny Endo!  We’re excited about that.  Find more info here:  TAIKOX2:  On Ensemble and Kenny Endo

Topeka to Denver

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009


Kris and I stopped in Denver to refine Omiyage that Shoji and Kelvin started.  The piece is hard, but Denver Taiko and Mirai Daiko did a great job.  Way to hang in there!  I hope they are able to continue developing this piece.  Shoji’s original vision for this piece was for groups to take it and make it their own, not just to do it the way they were taught.  Good luck Denver Taiko and Mirai Daiko!  Next time we stop through, we hope to see improvement!

On the drive here, we listened to history being made on the radio.  It brought a tear to my eye and I’m full of hope for this new year and new era.  In honor of this historical day, we recorded this fun intro to Omiyage in honor of our new president. SurpriseOmiyage.mp3

Happy Inauguration Day!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Woohoo!  Today is a great day for our country!  At noon, Barack Obama becomes our 44th President.  I can hardly believe it.  Whether you are on the right or left politically it is times like this that we can reaffirm our faith in our Democractic process.  Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes it is slow but change is possible. I can’t stop smiling, what a proud happy day for America!

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