Archive for March, 2009

Next up: Salt Lake City

Monday, March 30th, 2009

April going to be a bit of crazy month.  Kris is heading up to San Francisco for shamisen performances with renowned hogaku master Saburo Mochizuki, then will be heading up to Pendleton, Oregon to perform with Portland Taiko.

At the end of the month we’ll be headed to Salt Lake City for a FREE performance at Salt Lake Community College:

April 22, 11:15am
Salt Lake Community College
Student Center – The Lair
4600 South Redwood Road
Salt Lake City, Utah  84123

We’ll also be gearing up for the official release of Ume in the Middle and will be posting reviews as they come it!

Taiko X2 wrap-up

Monday, March 30th, 2009

We had a great performance last night to a sold-out crowd and have a ton of people to thank.  First of all we’d like to thank Michael Wolf and the Cerritos Center for bringing us back to their amazing venue.  We’d also like to thank the top notch crew at the center for making our lives as easy as possible.  We always love performing at Cerritos because the entire staff is great to work with and you know that everyone goes the extra mile to make sure things are done right.

Thank you to our great volunteers: Courtney, Jen, Hiro, Kathy, Brian, Jana and Yuri and a super big thank you goes out to our lighting designer Eileen Cooley, sound designer Yoko Ito and Nana and Chris for all of their great work.  We’ve been working with both Eileen and Yoko for some time now and their artistic contributions to our live performances have been profound.

Finally a great big huge thank you goes out to Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, Brad Dutz and Ysanne Spevack for all of their amazing artistry.  Kenny Endo has been a great mentor, teacher and inspiration to On Ensemble and it was a honor to share the stage with him and his fantastic guest artists.

We got a nice review on CerritosInk by Glen Creason who said our performance was:

very innovative and stretched the limits of the Japanese tradition out to its outer limits.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this performance such a success!

Backstage at Cerritos

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

cerritosTaikoX2 is tonight!  We’re at the Cerritos Center teching for tonight’s show.  We’re all getting excited about playing with Kenny and it should be a fun show.  We’re each playing a couple of his contemporary pieces and the four of us will be performing Noon Cycles and one of my favorite Kenny Endo compositions, Symmetrical Soundscapes.  As always the Cerritos Center crew has been fantastic we always feel so well taken care of here.  We’ll see everybody tonight!

Almost ready for Cerritos!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

We’ve had a great few days of rehearsal for our big show at the Cerritos Center this Saturday! On Ensemble will be joined by Kenny Endo and a number of fabulous musicians he has lined up: vibraphone player Brad Dutz, flautist Kaoru Watanabe, and violinist Ysanne Spevack.

Best of all… the show will be packed! There are just a few single seats left… Thank you to all our supporters!

Kenny and Brad at On's practice space

Kenny and Brad at On's practice space

“Ume in the Middle” press campaign kick-off

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Our press campaign for “Ume in the Middle” is just getting started.  We’re excited to be working with the Planetary Group to promote our new album and I’ll be posting the reviews and press we get as it comes in.  Our first review comes from AndMoreAgain:

Instead of worldbeat, often a combination of different cultures, you might call On Ensemble’s unique club music taiko beat. On Ume in the Middle, the Silverlake quartet fuses Japanese drumming with electronic loops and effects. The multi-ethnic outfit also incorporates throat singing, koto, and shinobue into their Eastern-tinged melange, resulting in melodies designed as much for meditation as for moving, i.e. the tempo is never slow enough for sleeping, nor so fast that dancing is the only option.

Long overdue calendar update

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I just finished updating our calendar section with new performances.  We’ll be making our first run out to Utah in April with a perpformance at Salt Lake Community College and we have a very busy summer lined up with performances at the Oregon Bach Festival, the Ford Ampitheater, the Levitt Pavilion and the California WorldFest.  AND…  that’s all before the Summer Taiko Institute and the 2009 North American Taiko Conference.

The Summer Taiko Institute was recently feature on Create Culture a great social networking site for art lovers everywhere.  There is even a throat singing camp in Tuva featured on the site, how cool is that?

A (fiscal) year of generosity

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

I got a little emotional working on my taxes today.  As I organize and tally my personal finances for last year, I’m struck by something: people are really generous.

In 2008, almost 10% of my income came from unsolicited donations.  Wow!  Now, my income is far from substantial, so 10% of a small number is a smaller number still… But all the same, these donations were unsolicited!  About two dozen folks sent me a check last year, out of the blue, as thanks for something.  Some people sent their checks in appreciation for the free 30 Days to Better Shime program, or for an essay I’d written, or for my help with something or other.  To all you generous folks, thank you very much!  I hope to repay your generosity with more good stuff this year!

But I’m way in the hole for 2009 already…  See, an unforeseen gesture of enormous magnanimity has come my way: I am the recipient of a new car.  And not any new car, but a 2004 Prius.  Bam!  In one fell swoop, the scales are way out whack. So I’ve got a whole lot of work to do and the 2009 clock is ticking!  Anyone need a free taiko lesson?  Or help with gnu/linux?  A back rub?

Thank you to everyone who supported me and On Ensemble in 2008!

2009 Summer Taiko Institute

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

sti_postcardWe’re sending out postcards to taiko groups all across the country for the 2009 Summer Taiko Institute soon!  Keep an eye out for them!

The Summer Taiko Institute is a great opportunity to deepen your study of taiko with an intensive three day series of workshops right before the North American Taiko Conference.  The North American taiko community continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  During our tours we’re constantly meeting new taiko groups all across the country.  Even just in Southern California  it’s pretty impossible to keep track of all the new groups.

If you are a taiko player and have never attended a taiko conference I highly recommend it!  It’s a really great opportunity to meet crazy taiko nuts from all around the world. *Yes you are weird but the good news is that you aren’t alone*  If you’re a part of a collegiate taiko group there is also the Annual Collegiate Taiko Invitational which will be hosted by UC Irvine Jodaiko this year in May.

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