Maz' Blog

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!

Tacoma First Day

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

While Kelvin is busy with Ruined, On continues to tour to the Rialto Theater in Tacoma.  That’s what we like about On Ensemble.  While we love On, we support each other and are encouraged to branch out and do our own things.  That being said, we picked up Chris Hartz on drum set, and Kaoru Watanabe to play with us for this tour.

After a two day drive where we have been leaking transmission fluid from the van (which is scary because it takes a while for the clutch to engage into gear) and lost our cover to our catalytic converter, we made it safely to Tacoma.  We of course got to stop in and visit our parents for a short night and we visited our old On Ensemble buddy, Michelle Fujii, now artistic director of Portland Taiko, for lunch in Portland.  Nice to know people on the road!

Today we had a lecture/demonstration and then a workshop for elementary kids.  Here’s Kris teaching them oroshi and renshu taiko.

There are still tickets left for our concert tomorrow at 7:30pm!  Come check it out!  It’s always fun to play with Kaoru and Chris adds another tasty flavor to our mix.

Mark Miyoshi

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Hi all.  Long time no blog!  I’ve had a nice, busy schedule in January.  Two gigs out in Vegas and a big show in Riverside with TAIKOPROJECT kept me on my toes for the new year.

Over the holidays I went home to Mt. Shasta and visited my parents.  During my stay, we went over to Mark Miyoshi’s to see the new, huge odaiko he’s building.  If you’ve never met Mark, he’s one of the most gracious, great, spiritual people that I know.  He builds taiko from scratch all by himself.  In Japan, you have workers who do each step of building a taiko.  One person who carves the inside out, one person who cures the skin, one person who puts the skin on, etc.  Mark does it all to amazing perfection.  He and his wife, Luisa, have chickens, a bee colony (of which I am enjoying the awesome honey from), make herbal tinctures, among other things.  Mark has been like an uncle to Shoji and myself.  The odaiko he’s building is the biggest he’s built and is part of a bunch of taiko he is building for display at The World’s First Global Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ opening in April, 2010.  Congratulations Mark!  This is a huge honor and it’s a huge honor to have Mark as part of my life.

Falling

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

It’s been a week since our “Works In Progress ’09” concert.  I think that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time and what a better way to spend it with some of my favorite people in the world creating great and crazy music.

The name “Falling” came to me as I started composing the melody.  I don’t really know what it feels like to fall in an abyss, but while I was playing this song, I almost imagined myself falling into an abyss just like Ziyi Zhang’s character, Jen Yu, did at the end of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon“.  I’d like to thank the On guys for helping me come up with the rhythm section and the koto part.  Kelvin was working pretty hard in this concert!  Thank you to my parents who helped this piece come alive.

Falling – Kelvin Underwood: koto, Shoji Kameda: chappa and shaker, Kris Bergstrom: taiko and shaker, Jeanne Mercer: percussion, Russel Baba: percussion, Masato Baba: fue.

On Ensemble Goes Blues?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Kelvin has been down to LA a few times now to work on new songs for our “Works In Progress ’09” concert on December 12.  We have all sorts of new stuff that’s fun and challenging.  I’ve actually pulled out my old bass for this concert.  It’s been so long, but I miss it.  Here is a clip of Kelvin’s new song with him on vocals and guitar, Kris on taiko, and me on drumset.

Kelvin’s song clip

The Warehouse!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Hi all!  So, a few months ago, I posted a blog about TAIKOPROJECT looking for a warehouse.  That particular warehouse didn’t work out, BUT Bryan found a new one down in Long Beach and signed the lease!  It’s currently being renovated since it was basically a large space with nothing in it and it needs some work.  That being said, go to TAIKOPROJECT’s website for information about the future Southern California’s only dedicated Taiko studio.  Exciting!!!

Yukai Daiko’s Taiko Camp

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Kris and I both taught workshops this past weekend in UCLA at Yukai Daiko’s Taiko Camp.  Every year, before the school year starts, Yukai holds a taiko camp to which Kris and I both taught at last year as well.  This year, I did one of my newer workshops called “How to Kiai Confidently While Playing Taiko”.  Kiai are hard because it’s another thing added to the form of Taiko.  You’ve got your stance, you’ve got your beats, you’ve got your movements, and then your kiai or vocal shouts.  It was fun, but my voice was all tired from the day before at Chico!  I was very impressed with Yukai this past year and I’m excited to see their advancements this year.  Special thanks to Jessica and Isabella for organizing everything and to Danny for the following picture.Yukai09

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