Archive for August, 2014

On Ensemble at Freight and Salvage

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Bay Area people! On Ensemble will be performing at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on Sunday September 7th at 8:00pm! Tickets are $21 advanced/$23 at the door and available through the Freight and Salvage website.

On Ensemble in concert at Freight and Salvage
Sunday Sept 7th 8:00pm
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
ph: (510) 644-2020 /

On Ensemble at the WAA Conference

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

“Aside from the incredible talent and energy of the On Ensemble, we found them to be a presenter’s dream.”
– Marlene Hendrickson, University of Montana Presents

“I would recommend On Ensemble highly for any presenter looking for an engaging and enlightening world-music ensemble.”
– Theresa Willis Peters, Program Coordinator, Design for Sharing

“On Ensemble takes taiko way beyond is folkloric roots and moves it into new frontiers”
–  Stan Shikuma, International Examiner


Founded by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble’s exceptional musicality takes the ancient instruments of taiko into the modern age. On Ensemble will be showcasing at the WAA Conference:
WAA Showcase Schedule
Sheraton Aspen Room
Tues Sept 2nd, 10:10pm
Wed Sept 3rd, 9:30pm
Thurs Sept 4th, 9:30pm

Represented by Cadence Arts Network Booth 601

New Promo Photos

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

We took some new promo photos a couple of months ago this time with Kris, David, Maz and myself and I’ve uploaded them to our Press-kit. We’ve also updated our bio in preparation for the upcoming WAA conference to reflect the new organization and additions to our group. Enjoy the photos!






Online Taiko and Fue Lessons at kaDON!

Sunday, August 17th, 2014


For the past year I’ve been working with Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe and Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten to on a new online taiko teaching resource called kaDON! I’m very excited about this venture as I feel that we are at an important moment in the growth of taiko as an art form. There has a been an incredible growth of taiko groups throughout the world. This past month the World Taiko Gathering held here in Los Angeles brought taiko groups from throughout the United States, Japan, UK, Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Argentina for an amazing weekend of workshops, networking and concerts. It was so inspiring to be around all of these people from around the world that shared the same passion for the taiko. It’s my sincerest hope that kaDON will help facilitate the further growth and development of taiko throughout the world by providing high quality instruction and repertoire to as many people as possible!

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Shaga

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Shaga from Kristofer Bergstrom

(notation coming soon)

The Shaga section was the most foreign for me, as the motions of brushing and scratching the skin are more akin to playing shaker than taiko. That having been said, the hours spent touching the skin and playing so gently have really helped me bond with the instrument. I’m extremely careful about how I treat my drum’s one pristine head. In the end the techniques are not quite as esoteric as expected; I now love to use scratching motions on odaiko as well.

The independence required in this section was one of the most technically challenging parts of the piece for me, and I spent many hours going very slowly figuring out each successive sound. I practiced mainly on my my desk and on my notebook while riding the bus. Shaga is amenable to practice anywhere.

A note of caution. If your drum skin is not perfect and has cracks or flakes in the first layer of the skin (called the “gin”), you can damage the skin further by improper technique. A fingernail can easily get under a crack and flake off the gin. Watch the video closely for how I use different fingernails in different directions. Practice slowly and carefully, especially when using actual skin.

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Teko

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Teko from Kristofer Bergstrom

(notation coming soon)

Teko is one of my favorite extended techniques from Radiddlepa. By simply changing the location of a “side-stick” hit (with the left hand in the video), we can get a “double strike”. The first strike is the bachi coming down flat on the skin. Because the hand is overhanging the side of the drum, the bachi pivots on the body of the shime and the butt of the bachi comes off the skin. When the wrist raises again, the butt comes into contact with the skin again, creating our second strike. The technique allows for remarkably fast and intricate rhythms.

Learning Radiddlepa: Dynamics

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Learning Radiddlepa: Dynamics from Kristofer Bergstrom

Once we’ve exhausted our practice options and patience for sticking and tones, we can focus on the challenge of accenting. I worked through each pattern of the 1eau Drill (see 30 Days page 26, previously the “1234 Drill”) over a period of a few weeks. Once I was able to play the 1eau Drill while maintaining radiddlepa sticking, I gave myself random challenge patterns of accented and and quiet/ghosted notes. I drew these patterns from “Edobayashi”-style rhythms. I’m still working on this challenge.

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Outro

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Learning Radiddlepa: Patterns – Outro from Kristofer Bergstrom

(Notation coming soon)

The Outro section requires only the tonal and dynamics skills learned thus far. The left hand is accenting the “1”, alternating between the drum center and the drum body, while the right hand switches between the drum body, skin edge (“de”), drum body, and rope. The right hand is switching every three counts for an interesting relationship between the hands.

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