Archive for April, 2014

WTG Battle and two LATI prep courses

Monday, April 28th, 2014


I’ll be organizing a Matsuri Crashers Battle at World Taiko Gathering, on June 20, 2014. I’ll be trying to get participants from across the taiko globe to prepare solos and join us.

For those of us in southern California, I’ll be teaching two courses related to the battle: a solo prep course and a Rock Solids prep course. I need motivated players to join and prepare really exciting solos, as well as small-drum enthusiasts who will master the structures and base-beats with me to hold down the rhythm for our soloists. I’m really excited about the classes, and the battle!

Classes start next week. Please join me and help make the next battle a success!

Recent book reviews — April 2014

Saturday, April 12th, 2014


New York wrap up

Saturday, April 12th, 2014


Last weekend I had a great week that culminated in two workshops at the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center in New York City. The first was a workshop on the interlocking rhythms of Lion Chant and second was on mastering Omiyage. The workshops were held at Kaoru’s new beautiful studio in Brooklyn. It was fantastic being there and I’d like to give a huge shout out to Kaoru, Mari, Shinobu and Miki for putting up with me for a week AND for all the great food. Also a huge thank you goes out to the workshop participants who came from as far away as Sydney, central Massachusetts and Long Island.

I also got to see footage of the debut performance of Kaoru’s new taiko group: Ne-O Ensemble. It was really impressive as a debut performance and I’m looking forward to seeing more from New York’s newest odd-grooviest, powerfully hitting, serious walking taiko playing ensemble.

After the weekend I flew back to Los Angeles, Maz picked me up from the airport and went straight to rehearsal for an On Ensemble performance at CSU Channel Islands earlier this week. Spent the rest of the week getting back in the LA routine with the little one. Spent time some quality father daughter time at Descanso, Huntington Gardens and building a giant lego crocodile creature. Good times.

Shoji Kameda is a Grammy nominated musician, composer and producer and a leading creative force in the taiko world. He can be reached at: shoji(at)

Joe Small call for collaborators

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Our good friend and taiko colleague, Joe Small, is seeking taiko players to join in the development and presentation of his final MFA thesis at UCLA. It’s an exciting project and a chance to work with dedicated taiko artists. Read on for the details and contact Joe if interested.


Kaoru and Kenny at JANM

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Our good friends and frequent collaborators Kaoru Watanabe and Kenny Endo will be performing at JANM on Friday May 23rd at 8:00pm! Tickets are on sale now and are only $15!

Friday, May 23, 2014, 8:00 pm
Japanese American National Museum–Tateuchi Democracy Forum
100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tickets: $15 general admission; $10 JANM members
Purchase online at:


The personal plan comes none-too-soon

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Thank goodness I now have a personal plan to do something about climate change. A day after publishing my essay, this article comes out: Congress’s Scientific Illiterates Are Resigning the World to Ruin. The personal plan provides at least a bit of solace…

Taiko workshops at the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

I’ll be giving two workshops at the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center this Saturday April 5th. Space is limited and there are just a few spots left for the two workshops:

Lion Chant Workshop 1 : Interlocking Rhythms
This workshop will introduce participants to components of Shoji’s newest piece taiko composition: Lion Chant. Focusing on simple independence this workshop will focus on the timing and technique required for creating dense layers of interlocking rhythms. This workshop will also teach part of the structure of the piece Lion Chant and will lay the foundation for learning and performing the composition. All levels welcome! Limited to 12 participants

Mastering Omiyage
This workshop will focus on refining the technique and concepts behind Omiyage. One of the taiko world’s most exciting and performed compositions Omiyage is now performed by taiko groups throughout the world. Learn to master the subtleties of the movements and composition from the creator himself. No previous experience with Omiyage necessary. Limited to 12 participants

10 am to 1 pm: Lion Chant
1 pm lunch
2 to 5 pm: Omiyage

Fee (includes lunch)
For KWTC members:
$55 for one workshop, $95 for both
For non-members:
$60 for one workshop, $105 for both
RSVP by emailing

There is also a great taiko intensive next week Friday April 11th to Sunday 13th at the KWTC with Tetsuro Naito and Patrick Graham.


Shoji Kameda is a Grammy nominated musician, composer and producer and a leading creative force in the taiko world. If you are interested in bringing him out to work with your group contact him at: shoji(at)

Toward a Sustainable Taiko Career

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014



For the last six months I have been contemplating my carbon footprint and how touring as an artist produces more than my fair share of CO2. I sketched out a long-term plan, talked to everyone I know, read books on the subject, took online classes, and thought and thought about it. The result is a 10-year CO2-reduction plan. It will eventually change how often I can travel by air with On Ensemble but I hope that with creativity and hard work, I can minimize the negative impact and maximize the benefits.

The essay above explains the project. I welcome any feedback, especially challenges to the reasoning behind the plan.

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