Ume in the Middle: 2009

Ume in the MiddleFeaturing On Ensemble’s unique combination of taiko, hip-hop, overtone singing, rock and electronica, Ume in the Middle was praised by reviewers as “a truly avant-garde experience” and “full of boundless imagination“.

  • Yamasong
  • Hisashi
  • Waiting
  • Hiroya vs. Miniboss
  • Butoh-bot Malfunction
  • After Rain
  • Silverback
  • Bounceback
  • Yamasong (Campagna Remix)

Ukiyo Live: 2007

Ukiyo LiveOn Ensemble’s first live album. Recorded at UKIYO, the ensemble’s fourth annual home concert series, this album features two special guest artists; Montreal based multi-percussionist Patrick Graham and New York based fue specialist Kaoru Watanabe.

  • Little Man
  • Watashi Watashitachi
  • Kamakura/Bounceback
  • Yamasong
  • Yamanaka Bushi/Chakuto Improvisation
  • Loops/After Rain
  • Zeecha!!!

Dust and Sand: 2005

Dust and SandOn Ensemble’s critically acclaimed debut album. Called “completely original and brilliantly conceived“, Dust and Sand reached as high as number 3 on the New Age Reporter charts and saw nationwide radio play from NPR’s Morning Edition to XM Satellite Radio.

  • Little Man
  • Gengakki
  • Fingertips
  • Same Planet
  • Two by Four
  • Someday Six
  • Zeecha
  • Taiko Overtone Quartet

MP3s of Live Performances

Works in Progress ’09

Every year we try to carve out time to be creative and work on new material. Usually it culminates in a “Works in Progress” concert and 2009 was our most successful to date thanks to our many supporters and FoundatiOn Team donors. Our special guest artists were Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba of Shasta Taiko who are Masato’s parents and Shoji and Maz’ first taiko teachers. Russel and Jeanne have had a profound influence on us as artists. Russel’s primary instrument is the Alto Sax which is featured on “Bizarre Heroes” where he’s joined by another frequent On Ensemble collaborator Kaoru Watanabe on the shinobue. These tracks represent the newest tracks we are working on in a very raw form.

The Untitled Concert

Here’s some more experimental improvisational music from a concert featuring Shoji Kameda on laptop, Kaoru Watanabe on fue, Chris Spilsbury on guitar, June Kuramoto on koto and dancer Cynthia Lee.

Triple Door: Recorded May 22nd 2008

Triple Door Live

These MP3s are from On Ensemble’s performance at the Triple Door, one of Seattle’s coolest little jazz clubs. We played at the Triple Door during our May 2008 Northwest tour that included stops in Bellingham, Seattle, Portland and Stanford. This performance features On Ensemble standards as well as newer pieces whose arrangement and parts we’re still tweaking.

Our live show continues to evolve, we’re always adding new songs, changing parts and re-arranging the pieces. Making and performing music is a constant process rather than a finished product: Nothing is permanent, nothing is complete, nothing is perfect.

Project GO: Recorded May 12-13 2006

Project GO

Project GO marked the beginning of our collaborative relationship with Montreal based percussionist Patrick Graham. I met Patrick back in 2001 while living in Tokyo studying traditional music. I attended a workshop he was giving on Indian percussion at Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten’s Drum Museum in Asakusa. It was fantastic meeting another crazy artist traveling the world and it felt like we were on very similar paths.

Fast forward six years and thanks to Christiane Chaput and the staff at the Theatre La Chapelle we were finally able to work together. We spent a week collaborating and rehearsing and performed a series of three sold-out concerts together. It was the start of a great creative partnership. Patrick has been a huge influence on On Ensemble’s sound and he’s featured on our “UKIYO Live” CD as well as our upcoming studio album “Ume in the Middle”.

NEIRO: Recorded June 16-18 2005


These tracks were recorded at our second annual home concert series ON ’05 : NEIRO. During this time Maz was in Japan studying music and our group included Michelle Fujii and Yuta Kato. Michelle has since gone on to become the Artistic Director of Portland Taiko and Yuta now lives in Japan studying taiko and traditional Japanese music.

Neiro also featured guest artist Chris Spilsbusy on guitar. Originally “After Rain” was composed with electric guitar in mind and Chris plays an amazing solo on this version. We also recorded our first DVD at NEIRO which is available at CDBaby.com.

16 Responses to “Discography”

  1. Bradley says:

    Ume in the middle, best CD I ripped from my school’s radio station all year. Yamasong is the shit.
    If you guys are ever in the midwest, think about doing a show at Bradley University, it’s a chill liberal arts school, heavy on the engineering and music.
    Pepria, IL

  2. Kris says:

    Thanks, Bradley! And please know that we release our music under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA-NC), so it’s legal (and encouraged!) to share our music. Rip a copy for your friends too!

  3. Austin Ulen says:

    I love you guys. Your taiko music has totally blurred the lines of all music for me! Please come to the mid-west (Illinois or Ohio =)

  4. Allison Schedin says:

    I absolutely loved your guys’ performance with Mu Daiko in MN. I listen to Ume in the Middle all the time, and I’m always telling people about your site. The St. Olaf College Taiko Club is rooting for you!

  5. Dawn says:

    My family saw your show in Reno. We were blown away!! We are now devoted fans!! Love your music!!! Come to Reno again, soon.

  6. Nina says:

    My class was there and saw your show in down town Tacoma come there soon . I was in front that asked you “Why do you haf to where those shose Mr.Stevens class !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You were awsome. I went there at 11:00 AM,on May 27 ,2010 : )

  7. Nina says:

    You should go to Heritage Christain School at Tacoma. But tecknikly University Place. Out of school June 11 school start September something. :)

  8. Breanna Adams says:

    Dear OnEnsemble,
    I was at your show on 3-24-11. I think it was an AWESOME show. All fifth grade came, from Imagine Schools at East Mesa. I didnt have a favorite song, all of the songs were my favorite especially Turn I liked the part when Chris was on the Turn Table I thought that it was really cool how you had the Turn Table mixed in with the drums and the Taiko Drums all mixed together! I think the whole show was GREAT! Thanks for having us be there and thanks for putting on a GREAT show for us at Imagine Schools At East Mesa!

    Breanna Adams

  9. Alex Johnston says:

    YO I LOVED your show i think it was AWESOME! I was at the show on 3-24-11 Imagine Schools At East Mesa went we ALL had a Great time we were all into your show! We all wish especially me wish we could go see you guys again! When I first heard your music i justa had to keep listening to it! You guys had a GREAT performance keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. kido says:

    After having graduated, I find that I’m missing taiko a bit and I have come back to immerse myself again. I just have to say I love Little Man so much.
    I was curious though, I know On Ensemble performs taiko with many other japanese traditional instruments like fue and koto and shakuhachi and more… do you have any pieces/have you considered playing with the biwa. I’d be very interested in hearing how a fue and biwa combination would possibly sound

    • kris says:

      Hello Kido! We haven’t had the chance to use biwa. If I remember correctly, Kenny Endo plays a bit of biwa… maybe we could talk him into dusting it off.

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  13. Nikoli says:

    Thanks for coming all the way over to Whitefish Montana we six graders had a great time

  14. Nikoli says:

    Right now at this time im even still listening to your guys music! =D

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