Archive for November, 2012

Taiko Communtiy: Mark Miyoshi needs our support!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

We are making a call out to the taiko community in order to support one of our heroes and mentors Mark Miyoshi. As some of you may have heard on October 25th, Mark entered the hospital to find that he had experienced a stroke. The stroke has impaired the use of his right arm. He will be starting rehabilitation therapy and though he is still not out of the danger zone, the doctors are hopeful that he can return to the point that he can continue his craft – making taiko.

Mark does have health insurance but he could have up to $7,500 per year in out of pocket medical expenses. We are hoping to raise at least one year’s worth of medical expense coverage through the taiko community for his upcoming rehabilitation therapy. Hopefully we’ll be able to raise more than this amount and be able to cover more of his upcoming medical expenses.

Mark is a cultural treasure of our community. He has contributed greatly to the art of taiko making in this country. Many of the techniques for wine barrel and stave construction taiko were developed by Mark and shared openly. He lives a simple frugal live dedicated to his art and to helping others and I cannot think of anyone more worthy of our help.

Please make your donation out to Mark Miyoshi and send it to:
Mark Miyoshi
c/o Art Kameda
PO Box 1024
Mt. Shasta, Ca 96067

Or donate online via Paypal:

Thank you for your help.
Shoji Kameda

Recent book reviews — November 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! After a long tour throughout Ohio and Hawai’i we’ve returned to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and to perform at a benefit concert for the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center. We’ll spend the next couple of months in Los Angeles finishing up our album then will be headed to the East Coast in January. More info soon!

Hawai’i Tour Update

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

After our Ohio IMPACT Tour finished up we boarded a plane and headed straight for Maui where we met up with Kelvin for a concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Coming to Maui is almost like coming home thanks to the warm hospitality of Tony and Valerie Jones. Every time we come to Maui they go out of their way to help us out in all kinds of ways. Because of our tight schedule between Ohio and Hawai’i our drums weren’t able to make the trip but luckily we were able to borrow Zenshin Daiko’s drums for the concert. A huge thank you goes out to Tony and Valerie Jones and Zenshin Daiko for their help and use of their great drums for the concert. Also a big thank you goes out to Mika-san for the use of her Koto! And one last big thank you goes out to the excellent staff at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center who were a pleasure to work with. After our concert on Thursday night we had an educational outreach program for local elementary students on Friday and then headed to Hilo for our last concert of the tour.

It was quite a shock going from the cold, rain and snow of Ohio to shorts and t-shirts in Hawai’i. Luckily it didn’t take long to acclimate. One meal of Korean Chicken at Da Kitchen followed by a Ululani Shave Ice puts you right in the Hawai’i state of mind. If you haven’t been to Ululani’s Shave Ice it a must. I recommend the Mango, Lychee and Lilikoi with a scoop of haupia ice cream, mochi and a snow cap.

Hilo was the absolute perfect way to end the tour. I’ve always enjoyed Hilo’s laid back style. It just seems less interested in catering specifically to tourist than other parts of Hawai’i and has a wonderful small town charm. We loaded into to the theater in the morning then took time to go to the farmers market and eat at Miyo’s. In the evening we performed for a sold out extremely enthusiastic audience and it was the culmination to a month of performances. A huge thank you goes out to Lee for bringing us out to Hawai’i and to Apollo and Rob for their work in making the concert a success. Today I’m headed back to Maui to do some intensive workshops with Zenshin Daiko while the rest of the guys are holding workshops and private lessons for members of the Hilo taiko community. There should be a new rule that all On Ensemble tours end in Hawai’i!

Next Up: Hawaii Tour

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Yes you read that right. We flew from the rain and snow of Ohio straight to the sun and waves of Hawaii. We’ll be performing at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on Thursday November 15th and at the University of Hawaii Hilo on Saturday November 17th. Both concerts are at 7:30pm. We’ll also be conducting educational outreach programs and holding workshops for local taiko groups. Check out the Calendar section for updated information.

Ohio IMPACT Tour update 2

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

More updates from the road. After our stop in Napoleon we headed south to Cincinnati. We had a great concert at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center and did several out reach programs in the area including a workshop and mini performance at Elementz an organization dedicated to inspiring and engaging inner city youth through innovative hip hop arts programs, leadership development and community building.

The next day on our way to Zanesville we stopped by the most amazing cymbal shop in Covington which is just on the other side of the river from Cincinnati. If you are ever in the area this small but amazing shop is definitely worth checking out. The owner designs his own custom series that are all hand crafted and sound amazing. We ended up buying a 21″ ride a 16″ crash and a splash cymbal (or two or three was it?).

In McConnelsville we had the great pleasure of performing all of our educational programs and full concert at the historic and beautiful Twin City Opera House. It was a real treat performing in such a beautiful sounding space. It was like someone designed the perfect sounding room for On Ensemble. We found two more treasures in the area, Boondocks BBQ and Weasel Boy Brewery. Great ribs at one and an amazing IPA and Imperial Stout at the other.

Our last stop on this whirlwind tour is in Urbana. We’ve been here for a couple of days doing educational outreach programs and have our full concert tonight at Urbana University. We’ve had a great time being a part of the Ohio Arts Council IMPACT tour and would like to personally thank Kathy Cain of the Ohio Arts Council and Lydia Ohman of the Ohio Arts Presenter’s Network. Not only have they coordinated and organized a fantastic tour but they have become our long sought after taiko roadies! They will be sorely missed on our next leg of this tour: Hawaii.

Ohio IMPACT Tour update

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

We’ve been having a great time on tour in Ohio. The first stop of the tour started in Medina where it rained constantly. The first couple of days were spent doing educational outreach programs for elementary and high schools in the area and culminated in a concert performance. But it didn’t quite work out quite that nicely. The day of the concert performance the power at the venue went out because of the storms. There was a mad scramble to find a new performance venue and find some sound equipment. We ended up finding a pair of speakers at the local music shop and set up the concert at the Medina County Library. It was standing room only and had a great performance.

A huge thank you goes out to Tom at ORMACO who was the regional presenter in the Medina Area. We’ve also been traveling with Cathy and Lydia from the Ohio Arts Council who have been amazing to work with. Without them we’d be lost somewhere on a rural Ohio road.

After Medina we headed to the Napoleon/Archbold area where we performed at two more high schools before putting on a full concert at the Northwest Community College. The night before the concert members of the Henry County Arts Council opened their homes to us for some great home cooking and some of the best smoked pork loins I’ve ever had. A huge thank you goes out to Katie, Rob, Phil, Amy and everyone at the Henry County Arts Council for their warm hospitality.

Today we arrived in Cincinnati where we’ll be conducting two days of workshops followed by a concert on Wednesday evening at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center. More updates soon!

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