Archive for December, 2010

Stocking stuffers

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Just a quick reminder that On Ensemble’s music is released under a Creative Commons license that allows you to make free copies of our CDs and DVDs. If you’re looking for an inexpensive stocking stuffer or gift, consider giving music! With happy holiday wishes from us!

Recent book reviews – December 2010

Sunday, December 12th, 2010


30 Days to Better Shime group session, Round 4!

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be conducting another group session of 30 Days to Better Shime, starting January 1!  I haven’t been practicing small-drum technique as much as I’d like, and a number of players have contacted me about doing another group session.  So here goes…

Join me and dozens of other taiko players from around the country for one month of at-home, guided shime practice!  The free program provides daily exercises and drills for 15-20 minutes of results-oriented practice, along with daily emails to help keep you on track.  During the session, I’ll be releasing new demonstration videos of the drills and techniques as well.

Make practice one of your new year’s resolutions for 2011!

How to join

1) Sign up for the 30days_round4 email list by Mon, Dec 20

Send an email to with ‘subscribe’ in the Subject field or visit This email list will be deleted at the completion of the program.

2) Prep your course materials

Read through the instructions at the 30 Days to Better Shime website to download your workbook and companion audio files.  You can also also purchase a printed set which includes the 30 Days calendar at the site.   Order by Dec 20 to receive by Jan 1.

Happy holidays and happy practicing!

A week of creative rehearsals

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

We just flew Kelvin back to Ashland after a week of creative rehearsals.  It was a great opportunity to re-energize On Ensemble with new ideas and creative possibilities ahead of our upcoming cross country tour in January.  When we started On Ensemble back in 2001 we were just a couple years out of college and full of high hopes and dreams.  We weren’t really sure what kind of music we wanted to make.  The only two things we knew were 1) we wanted to make music with a small group of dedicated artists and 2) we wanted to explore new musical directions with the taiko.  Now that we’re coming up on 10 years as a group a lot has changed.  The reality of being a group of four working musicians means that we are all involved in many different projects.  We are also getting older.  Life is changing.  We are starting families, buying houses and have many more responsibilities than we did when we started On Ensemble.  This past week felt like we refocused our energies on what brought us together in the beginning and what keeps us moving forward: the need to create.

Kris Is 2011 Taiko Conference Assistant Coordinator

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

North American Taiko Conference is one of my favorite taiko events, bringing together hundreds of players for three days of workshops, discussions, and performances. I’m particularly excited about the 2011 conference, to be held for the first time at Stanford University! Our good friend Yuta Kato has been selected as the Conference Coordinator and I am to be his assistant. Here is the release from Roy Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko. Exciting!


North American Taiko Conference 2011

Norcal Taiko Network Newsletter

I have great news to report…


Yuta Kato will be this year’s North American Taiko Conference Coordinator.  Yuta comes to us with experience as the Assistant Coordinator to 3 previous Taiko Conferences.  His experience as a performer and instructor is extensive, having started with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo Rising Stars and moving on to help start Yu Kai Taiko at UCLA, playing with On Ensemble and Taiko Project.

In addition, we’ve also identified an Assistant Coordinator, Kris Bergstrom.  Kris is a former member of Stanford Taiko and a current performing member of both Taiko Project and On Ensemble. Being a graduate of Stanford, Kris is also very familiar with Stanford campus and its resources.

Needless to say, we are both honored and excited to have them both on board for the 8th NATC Conference which will be held at Stanford University on August 18-21, 2011.

A BIG THANK YOU… to everyone who came out to the Nor Cal Kickoff Event back in August!  We were truly excited to see all of you and to have the local planning process begin with some exciting new energy.

Thanks again for helping us make NATC 2011 the best conference yet!  We’re just getting started so stay tuned for more updates and information. Keep watching the NATC web site,


Roy Hirabayashi

Up Next: January tour to the East Coast and back

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Every other year or so we do a cross country workshop tour on our way to the APAP conference.  This year we have a number of workshops with taiko groups from Las Vegas to Montreal to Fort Wayne and more are being finalized now.  If you are a taiko group interested in a workshop from us on our way to NY in January get in touch with us soon.

Once we get out to New York we’ll be doing two showcases at the APAP|NYC conference.  After New York we’re heading up to Montreal for a concert with our good friend frequent collaborator and musical soul mate Patrick Graham at Sala Rossa.  Then it’s all the way back to Idaho for a residency program and performance at the Sun Valley Center for the Performing Arts.

Christopher Tin’s ‘Calling All Dawns’ nominated for two GRAMMY awards

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

This is very exciting news! Our good friend Christopher Tin’s album “Calling all Dawns” has just been nominated for two GRAMMY awards! One for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompaning Vocalist” for his song “Baba Yetu” and another for “Best Classical Crossover Album”.  On Ensemble recorded taiko and percussion parts on the album for the song “Mado Kara Mieru” and I did some electronic beats for the song “Rassemblons-Nous”.  Chris’ nomination for the song “Baba Yetu” also marks the first time a song that was written for a video game has received a Grammy nomination.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get a Grammy nomination with Hiroshima for the album “Legacy” and I only have one of bit advice for Chris:  this is going to sound silly but bring food!  I spent most of my first grammy experience hungry and jealous of Dan and June’s banh mi sandwich that they snuck in.

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