All posts in the "Featured Project" category.
All posts in the "Featured Project" category.
We are headed to St. Louis for a weekend of workshops and performance with St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. The weekend starts off with a performance at the Focal Point with St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. Then they are hosting an entire weekend of workshops for the midwest taiko community! All together there are 6 workshops being offered over the course of two days. It should be a great weekend of performances and workshops!
On Ensemble in Concert with St. Louis Osuwa Daiko
Thursday Oct 29th 2015
The Focal Point
Maplewood, MO 63143
We are very excited about heading to Minneapolis for a collaborative series of concerts with Mu Daiko called Taiko Groove! Way back in 2003 Mu Daiko brought us out to Minneapolis for the first time for a collaborative concert called ‘Drums of Fire’! It was one of the first big performances outside of the West Coast and I remember being so excited about getting to travel for a performance. I will always be grateful to Mu Daiko for believing in us and our music right from the beginning. Since that first concert series we’ve been back a couple of time for performances and workshops and have built a great relationship with Mu Daiko over the years. Taiko Groove is going to be our most integrated and artistically challenging collaboration thus far! We are really looking forward to sharing the stage again with Mu Daiko and hope you’ll join us for Taiko Groove!
directed by Jennifer Weir
Assistant Director: Emma Valentine
E.M. Pearson Theatre, Concordia University
312 Hamline Avenue St. Paul, MN 55104
Taiko Groove is a collaborative concert that explores a more contemporary taiko groove. Witness a variety of instrumentation, rhythms and melody, and of course the visceral excitement and chest-rattling of our big drum numbers that audiences love.
Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 PM
Friday, November 6 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 7 at 2:00 PM (Pay what you can)
Saturday, November 7 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 PM
We are super excited about our upcoming collaborative concert series ‘Rotations’ with Ho Etsu Taiko on October 3rd and 4th at Chicago’s amazing Anthenaeum Theatre. I’ve been working with Ho Etsu Taiko fairly regularly for the past year when they brought me to work with their group in April of 2014. Since that time our relationship has continued to grow and the idea of this collaborative concert was born! We’ve been working on new music specifically for this concert and it’s going to be a great concert series!
Ho Etsu Taiko and On Ensemble
Saturday Oct 3rd 7:00pm and Sunday Oct 4th 2:00pm
2936 N. SOUTHPORT AVENUE
BOX OFFICE: 773-935-6875
We have a really great family friendly performance at Descanso Gardens this week! It’s part of the Descanso Garden’s World Rhythm series and we’ll be the last performance of this great summer series. The performance starts at 6:00pm and goes for an hour. It’s also free with admission to the gardens!
On Ensemble at Descanso Gardens World Rhythm Series
Tuesday August 4th 6:00pm
FREE with admission to the gardens
What an epic weekend of amazing taiko awesomeness! First of all I’d like to thank Jonathan, Lucy and all of the volunteers from Kagemusha and Tano Taiko that put so much work into making the festival a success. Also a huge shout out and thank you to the Kirby family for their incredible hospitality! The festival was packed with great performances and workshops. There was a concert of youth groups from around the UK on Friday night. A fun 10 groups play for 10 minutes style concert on Saturday during lunch and a full formal concert by Ikari Taiko from Osaka that evening. Then another intimate midday concert on Sunday featuring Ikari Taiko, The Genki Spark, Unit Souzou, Kagemusha Taiko and myself. During Saturday and Sunday Michelle, Toru and myself all taught workshops that were designed to complete each other as a workshop block. There were also the after parties, lots of hanging out and talking taiko and even an epic after after party that included a good number of us heading to the local night club and dancing the night away.
I have had so many interesting, inspiring and enlightening conversations and so many experiences to process that I’ll have to take some time to think on it all. I will say that I come away from the UK Taiko Festival amazingly inspired by the growth of the world wide taiko community and the people who make up the community.
After the festival concluded I spent the week with Kagemusha Taiko teaching two workshops then headed to London with the group and helped out on a corporate team building workshop that Jonathan ran with 3 other Kagemusha Taiko members. Having never had any kind of ‘real’ job the corporate world feels like a foreign country with it’s own unique language. It was very interesting to see how Jonathan applied taiko principles and practices in a way that was relevant to the group of employees who were assembled for the event. Watching the group who had never played taiko before play an entire piece and seeing their smiles and energy was a great reminder of the power of taiko to bring people together.
This weekend I’m in Germany for a weekend intensive at Schloss Buchenau. I’ll post more on it later but it’s been an amazing experience thus far! Taiko people are my kind of people and I constantly feel blessed to be able to travel the world to teach, meet and hang out with taiko peeps! Will post more on this soon!
Back in 2010 a good friend and super talented puppet filmmaker Sam Koji Hale put together a short film for our track ‘Yamasong’ off of the album ‘Ume in the Middle’.
The first moment I read one of Sam’s ideas for ‘Yamasong’ I knew he’d be the perfect person to put visuals to our music. Fast forward 5 years and Sam has now taken the world of Yamasong and developed it into a feature length film! The full length film will follow events of the short film and greatly expands the world of Nani and Shojun. Sam has gotten an amazing cast of vocal talent for Yamsong including: Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Abigail Breslin (Maggie), Whoopi Goldberg (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Peter Weller (Robocop), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), George Takei (Star Trek), Ed Asner (Up), and Bruce Davison (X-Men). I’m such a huge Firefly and Star Trek and Star Trek TNG fan and when I heard that Mal, Mr. Sulu and Guinan were going to be a part of Yamasong I almost fainted. I’ll be posting more about the music that I’m creating for the film soon but in the meantime enjoy the awesome trailer!
I spent the last week in Minneapolis working with Mu Daiko and then Chicago working with Ho Etsu Taiko. Last year Ho Etsu Taiko was the first group I taught Lion Chant to outside of On Ensemble. Working with them was instrumental in developing the piece for other taiko groups and they helped me debut Lion Chant at the World Taiko Gathering last summer. This year they are bringing On Ensemble to Chicago in the fall for a series of concerts and we are using the work we did together last year as a foundation for developing new pieces and putting together a truly collaborative concert series.
With Mu Daiko I started teaching them Lion Chant, worked on Ready Set kaDON and material for another collaborative concert in the fall! I was amazed at how much we got accomplished over the weekend. The artistic director Jennifer Weir had been using the kaDON courses to prepare her group for our workshop time together very well. The result was that we got so much further with each of the pieces than we would’ve if I had just come to teach the pieces. Usually in a weekend of workshops I would be happy to teach the basic kecak part of Lion Chant and the exercises to get those parts nice and solid without worrying about the arrangement. Instead because of the prep work Jennifer and Mu Daiko did we were able to get through all of Ready Set kaDON, Lion Chant and part of another song in a weekend of working together.
It is really exciting to see how kaDON resources are being used in the community and SO EXCITING to realize just how much more can be accomplished in short periods of time working with a group using kaDON. As a workshop leader I’ve often felt the limitations of teaching within the workshop format. You have to keep what you teach very simple and it is hard to get to the deeper and more involved aspects of the art form. It often feels like I’m just scratching the surface. The depth can come from working with the same people repeatedly over a longer period of time and it is super exciting to be able to get to that depth much more quickly because people are using kaDON as a resource. It is very inspiring and inspires me to keep working on making kaDON the best resource it can be for the taiko community!
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!
Stay tuned for more videos!