Archive for February, 2009

Where’s Maz?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Maz, which one are you?!!


Star Struck

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Did you see me perform with TAIKOPROJECT at the 81st Academy Awards?  It was amazing!  The past two days, we saw Alicia Keys, Zach Effron, A.R. Rahman, John Legend, Whoppi Goldberg, Queen Latifa, and of course, the host Hugh Jackman!  Before we were waiting to go on to do our piece, Courtney and I were waiting backstage and saw Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Rogen, Christopher Walken, and Kevin Kline!  They had to pass right by us in a small hallway and acknowledged us which made me really, really nervous because it made me realize that whoa… we’re at the Oscars!!!  But I regained my confidence and went out and nailed the song.  All the drummers and dancers did great.  Props to you all!

photo-2Cameras were not allowed into the Kodak Theatre, but they let us take it in to the Mann Theatre which served as our dressing room area.  Here’s a picture of Courtney, Taylor, and me with our Academy Awards credentials which are basically passes to get in and out of the Kodak Theatre and through security.

Slumdog Millionaire loves taiko

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Getting ready for Maz’ performance tomorrow, I was reading a bit about A. R. Rahman, who did the music for the movie. Check this out! This is A. R. Rahman at work, with taiko in the background! (Remo’s synthetic taiko, to be exact.)

Academy Awards!

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Hello all.  Bryan, Byron, Courtney, and I from TAIKOPROJECT have been chosen to perform in the 81st Annual Academy Awards this Sunday, February 22 at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern.  Watch for us along with eight other “international drummers” and about 50 or so dancers when they present the award for “Best Song”.  We’re playing a 4-5 minute medley of all three songs.  Exciting!!!  I better charge my camera…

We’ve been rehearsing at local studios in Hollywood, but today we’re headed to the Kodak Theater.  Now we get to be in our element.

Who are you rooting for?  I REALLY liked “Slumdog Millionaire”, but I haven’t seen “Milk” yet which my mom and dad said was pretty good.  Oh yeah, and WALL-E was pretty fantastic too.

Masato to perform at Academy Awards

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

If you are watching the Academy Awards this weekend keep your eye out for Maz!  He’ll be performing in one of the “Best Song” presentations from the film Slumdog Millionaire!  The Jefferson Agrarian, a blog that covers the Mt. Shasta area, also wrote up a post on Maz’s upcoming Academy Awards debut!  Go Maz!

Yogyakarta Wrap-up

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

imogiri4Whew, what an amazing three weeks!  The residency in Yogyakarta ended with a big performance by all of the students.  Viji’s kids did an amazing demonstration of Barata Natyam basic exercises followed by a dance honoring the elephant headed god Ganesha.  Craig’s students performed a medley of songs on their homemade instruments and Keali’i’s kids looked like Hawai’ian princes and princesses as they chanted and danced their hula.  I was very proud of my own students who performed arrangements of “Renshu” and “Matsuri”.  It was amazing to see how far all the students had come in just three weeks.  For more pictures take a look at Judy’s Picasa album.

This residency has been one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I’ve ever had and I have many people to thank.  A huge thank you goes out to Judy Mitoma for her vision and leadership in putting together this program.  Another big thank you goes out to our project coordinator Jeanne Park who did much of the on the ground organizing.  We had the most amazing support staff in Yogyakarta and a huge thank you goes out to: Heni, Daruni, Endah, Lantip, Very and Arip.  I also have to give a huge thank you to my translator Tony and driver Sigit who did everything for me including performing with the students!  And finally a big thank you goes out to Anne Grimes and the US State Department for funding this program.  It is great to know that our State Department funds these kinds of cultural exchange programs that create real bonds between cultures and promote mutual respect and understanding.

The second part of the fellowship happens in March when seven Indonesian fellows come to Los Angeles for three months.  They’ll be teaching at UCLA and have an opening concert on April 17th-18th at Glorya Kaufman Hall.  We were able to watch some rehearsals of the concert in Yogyakarta and you won’t want to miss this opporunity to see these amazing artists.  I’ll post more information as the date draws closer.

No Feinstein, No! Stand up for net neutrality!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I was very dismayed today to read that Senator Feinstein is trying to insert legislation in Obama’s stimulus bill to undermine net neutrality.  This is really slimy, and really bad for the internet.  I’ve sent her the message below.  If you agree, please send her your thoughts as well.

Regarding Net Neutrality

I am very disappointed to see that you are attempting to augment the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program so that it “allows for reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement.”  This is a direct attack on net neutrality and I am absolutely opposed to it.

I strongly believe that net neutrality is critical for the health and progress of the internet, and that the internet is critical for the health and progress of American culture and business.  My opinion comes from my experience as a self-employed musician, and the great benefits I have received through the ability to share my work on the internet, and benefit from the work that others share.  I use Free Software to run my own web, mail, and dns servers, so that I am on equal footing with major music producers.  The democratic, equal nature of the current internet means that I am empowered to produce and grow as far as my music will take me.  I license my music under the Free Art License which makes it legal for others to share and build upon my works.  On the back of a fair, neutral internet, we are building a collaborative community for the betterment of all.

Please, please stop your efforts to undermine net neutrality.  The real power of the internet is its potential to redefine power structure; from central authority to the edges of the net, to creators like myself.  Please don’t side with the RIAA and the MPAA who seek to bring power back to the center.  These organizations do not work in the interests of creators.

Please, please, please reverse your position and support net neutrality.  Support creators!

Yogyakarta Part 7

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Finally into the last week of the fellowship here in Java.  The last few days have been extremely busy.  I had another kendang lesson with Pak Sukoco.  He’s such an amazing drummer it’s very humbling and inspiring sitting by his side and trying to soak up as much as I can.  Last night Tony took me to meet his Sundanese music teacher Pak Asep Saepudin.  It was great learning more about Sundanese music and sitting by yet another amazing drummer and musician.

We also did a performance and workshops at Isi, the college level institute for the arts here in Yogyakarta.  During our time here we’ve done performances and workshops at three middle schools, the performing arts high school and the college level arts institute.  It’s been really rewarding interacting with so many students at different levels.

We also finished our last day at the middle schools we’ve been in residence at.  My students at Imogiri have been a dream to work with and I’m blown away by the progress they made in three short weeks.  Tomorrow we have a dress rehearsal for our big performance on Friday.

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