New Video: Lion Chant

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Hi all.  A new video has been posted from the Taiko Heroes concert series!  Lion Chant, composed by Shoji.  I’d like to personally thank my childhood best friend, Ian Mora, who filmed and put these videos together.  Ian and I were such good friends in elementary school that I think we became a nuisance to our teachers and we were never in the same class after fourth grade.  Ian was always naturally talented for everything he did and film was always one of his loves.  We made all sorts of stupid home videos when we were young that were quite awesome, if I must say.  Ian is a much better actor than I am, but he always had to direct the videos, so I was often the main actor with our other bad actor friends.  So embarrassing!  From Kung Fu videos to claymation, we had a great time.  Ian was also in Shasta Taiko and we were also in a rock band together called “King Gorira”.  If we didn’t have those things growing up, we would have gotten in all sorts of trouble!

You can learn Lion Chant at kaDON with online courses from the creator himself.  There are other lessons you can take from Shoji, Kenny Endo, and Kaoru Watanabe.

Stay tuned for more videos!

The Brahmin and The Tiger – Closing Weekend!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

This next weekend is the closing weekend for the wonderful production I’m in called “Brahmin and the Tiger”. This show is directed by long time friend, John Miyasaki, who helped start off TAIKOPROJECT. He’s had a vision of creating a show with folktales from Asia and the Pacific. It’s finally here and he’s asked me to create some live music which includes Jen Baik, David Wells, and myself. I’m very proud to be a part of this production and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

Inner-City Arts
The Rosenthal Theater
720 Kohler Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Entrance at 7th and Merchant St

Tickets: $25, Seniors $20, Students $15

Friday, August 24 at 8pm
Saturday, August 25 at 2pm
Saturday, August 25 at 8pm
Sunday, August 26 at 2pm / Closing Performance


TAIKOPROJECT Home Show This Weekend!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I will be performing with TAIKOPROJECT this Saturday at our home show, Rhythmic Relations 2012. This year, we’re calling our second half “The Remix Show”. We’re “remixing” some of our favorite taiko songs out there in the taiko community. It’s going to be a blast!

TAIKOPROJECT, Rhythmic Relations 2012

Saturday, June 30, 8pm

Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA

On Ensemble 2012 Winter Tour Fun Facts

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

On Ensemble recently went on tour to Wyoming and then to Texas. As you know, we drive EVERYWHERE. It helps save cash and, even though it’s still burning fuel, it’s better for our carbon footprint versus flying. Fun time on the road!

-Approximate miles driven in the van – 5,563 plus
-Shoji and Kelvin’s approximate time spent in the van – 49 plus
-Maz and Kris’ approximate time spent in the van – 90 plus
-States passed through – California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas
-Time zones passed through – 3 (Pacific, Mountain, and Central)
-Number of Lecture/Demonstrations – 7
-Number of Concerts – 3
-Times chains had to be used – 2
-Approximate cups of rice made – 30
-Approximate curry lunches (Punjab Choley from Trader Joe’s) consumed – 13
-Approximate tofu dinners consumed – 10
-Times our gas light went on – Once. There was a stretch of the 10 freeway in Texas where there were no gas stations for like 150 miles. Abunai!
-We actually had time to watch the 49ers vs Giants NFC Championship game! It was fun, but we wished for a different out come!
-Times I got asked if I was “that guy in the Hangover” – 4. Dang Ken Jeong. Is this a good compliment or a bad one? Maybe it’s time for a haircut.

-Times Kris got asked if he looked like Scott Hamilton – Once, but this was probably the 2nd or 3rd time someone asked him that. Other people Kris has been compared to: Chris Martin of Coldplay, Paul Bettany, Ari Shapiro (voice only), and… Arnold Schwarzenegger???
-I asked Shoji and Kelvin who they’ve been compared to. Shoji said Jake Shimabukuro. Kelvin said Saul Williams.
-Kris won the “Man Card” of the tour. He was the best at backing up the trailer. I had to give up being the driver and he had to take over.
-Kris and I stopped at “The Thing” off of the Interstate 10 Freeway. I can’t tell you what it is. You have to google it. Silly stuff… it was only a dollar, so why NOT? Gotta do at least one silly thing on tour right?

Talking Taiko

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

My old family friend, Yuri Kageyama is having a book party with reading of poems and music tomorrow, August 15, 8pm at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.  Her son, Isaku, is performing taiko along with old family friend, Makoto Horiuchi on guitar, and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drum set.  Please check it out!!!

For more info:  CLICK HERE.

Paradise Lost in Chicago!

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Kris and I are at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago rehearsing for Eric Whitacre’s Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings! We’re performing tomorrow at Roosevelt University and are totally excited as always to be part of this production. We got in yesterday and spent the evening having a lesson and having fun with our host, John Yost. Thanks John and family for hosting us and letting us borrow your drums!

For those of you who don’t know, Paradise Lost is a production we did in Pasadena in 2007 that ran for about three months. It combines operatic singing (with seven leads), a choir (over 200 singers!), acting, choreographed fighting, electronica, cello, a DJ, and taiko (us, of course). The story is about children of angels who were locked in their angel city when their parents left to battle. The parents never came back and the children are forced to govern themselves. This results in internal conflict.

Last year, Shoji and I performed at Carnegie Hall in New York which was a blast! This year, we’re here in Chicago and are at Disney Hall in Los Angeles on June 25. Check it out!

Here is a picture of today’s rehearsal.  You can see Kris and the taiko all the way on the left side.

Rhythmic Relations 2010!

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Come see Kris and Maz perform this weekend as part of TAIKOPROJECT in Rhythmic Relations 2010! The concert will be on July 10th and 11th at the Ford Amphitheater in North Hollywood.

Click here for information and tickets.

We will be debuting SIX new songs! I am also proud to announce that we will be releasing the new album at the concert which I produced called “Surrounding Suns”. I’m so excited for this moment!

Paradise Lost Rehearsal

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Holy moly!  Shoji and I got into New York Saturday night and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since.  The night we got in, we had and awesome dinner at Chevella’s with our awesome hosts and good friends, Kaoru and Mari.

The next day, we sat down and wrote out our scores for Paradise Lost.  I taught an Omiyage workshop at Kaoru’s school, the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center.  Shoji will be back at the school on Wednesday to fine tune the song.

Today, we had a rehearsal for Eric Whitacre’s Paradise Lost in which we perform in tomorrow at Carnegie Hall!  We didn’t really know what to expect, but today’s rehearsal was amazing.  There are over 400 singers in the choir, seven lead singers, Eric (the creator and conductor), Greg (musical director and DJ), Fang Fang (cello virtuoso), the narrator, and us.  I was overwhelmed by the power of 400 singers.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard.  Amazing…

Video doesn’t really do it justice, but here is a clip:  PLChoir

The musicians, Greg, Eric, the narrator, and the leads!  Come check out the concert tomorrow if you’re in NYC!

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