Kris' Blog - the world according to a vegan, skateboarding, taiko nut

Japan trip wrap-up

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

I’ve just returned from a wonderful time in Tokyo and Kumamoto, Japan, followed by my first trip to England. The trip was amazing; the culmination of months of shamisen and taiko practice and preparation.

Shima no Senzai Tokyo lesson from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

My main goal in Japan was shamisen study. After a quick check-in lesson with my shamisen teacher, I took a lesson with the great tsuzumi player, Katada Shinjyuuro. I’m working on a piece called Shima no Senzai which is a duet for tsuzumi and shamisen. The lesson with Shinjyuuro provided an experienced drummer’s input on how to play in a way that makes the tsuzumi part easy and fun. My long-term goal is to be able to perform this piece with Kenny, Shoji, or Yuta and I feel like I’m making my way toward being ready.

Thank you to Kineya Katsuyukie, her students, Shinjyuuro Sensei, and Hiroka for all your help making this lesson happen!

Recent book reviews — June 2014

Saturday, June 21st, 2014


DIY toilet paper roll holder

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

DIY 13-roll toilet paper holder from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

Hiro and I just finished a fun woodworking project… a DIY toilet paper roll holder. One can obviously purchase a ready-made holder for just a few dollars, but our toilet paper roll holder has one key feature:

It holds all 12 rolls in a new pack, plus a 13th “buffer” roll!

The initial design had a kink in the middle to provide a shelf for bathroom reading materials, but initial testing proved toilet paper is reluctant to roll through bends. So we went with a long, straight design. It looks a bit like a skyscraper birdhouse. The holder hangs on a wall hook and can be easily removed for refilling. I made the holder from scrap bamboo plywood on hand and we left it unfinished. It works wonderfully and freed up a lot of space under the bathroom sink!

Up next: Japan and UK Taiko Festival

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

I’m extremely excited about an upcoming trip to Japan for shamisen lessons and England to teach and perform at the UK Taiko Festival!

Shima no Senzai
Last year I mentioned to my shamisen teacher, Kineya Katsuyukie, that I’d like to learn the tsuzumi/shamisen duet piece, Shima no Senzai, with the hopes one day of playing it with Kenny Endo. Katsuyukie Sensei has arranged a lesson for me with the great tsuzumi player, Katada Shinjyuro, and a singer from Hakodate, Nachi-san. This is going to be scary and fun!

In one of my workshops I’ll be debuting a new composition! I need to get a lot better before the grooves feel really good but I think it has potential. Here’s a sample!

Radiddlepa sample, work in progress from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

Jack Bazaar and collaborations with Kagemusha and Mizuho Zako
I’ll be performing Jack Bazaar with Oliver Kirby on jiuchi, sitting in on one of Kagemusha’s pieces, Kindred Spirit, and trying to pull together a short bon-taiko collaboration with Mizuho Zako (Oedo Sukeroku Daiko). It will be an honor to work with these wonderful people!

Recent book reviews — April 2014

Saturday, April 12th, 2014


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.

Jack Bazaar new Duet intro

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Maz and I have been working on some new two-person stuff for the Duet intro of Jack Bazaar. It’s all silly stuff but it’s been a really fun challenge and working with Maz is the best. We had a great practice yesterday in preparation for a gig in Sylmar next week. Hopefully we’ll have a non-bachi-dropping video of the Duet in the not-too-distant future!

Jack Bazaar with revised Duet beginning from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

Nidan-inspired work in progress

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Jason Osajima and I spent a few weeks working on some new two-drum ideas for On Ensemble’s Works In Progress concert. Here’s the result!

Nidan Uchi-inspired work in progress from Kristofer Bergstrom on Vimeo.

On Ensemble is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).