On Ensemble performing at SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl

July 24th, 2016 | posted by:


Next week we’ll be performing at the Hollywood Bowl as a part of LAPhil’s SummerSounds. SummerSounds is a fun-filled four week series of lively concerts, combined with art workshops. Each concert is hosted by the dynamic duo of Mr. K and Ms. Smith who lead you on a journey to discover music dance and art from cultures all around the world!

We’ll be performing next week from July 25-29 twice daily at 10:00am and 11:15am. Tickets are $16 and more info can be found at: http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/summersounds-2016

On Ensemble at APAP 2016

January 11th, 2016 | posted by:


Established in 2002 On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko (Japanese drumming) world. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble is recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central asian overtone singing. Their fearless musical exploration has expanded the artistic range of the taiko and has taken these ancient instruments into new realms. The group’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.” On Ensemble was the first American taiko group to be invited to perform at the National Theater of Japan for the prestigious Nihon no Taiko concert series.

Shoji and Maz were taught taiko at an early age (8 and 6) by Maz’ parents, accomplished taiko players and jazz musicians Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba. The duo has been playing and making music together for over 30 years and are recognized as two of the brightest stars in the taiko world. Together with the other members of On Ensemble they combine their study and deep appreciation of Japanese traditional music with equally formative experiences as DJs, electronic music producers, and rock bassists to produce, record and perform some of the most compelling and creative taiko music.

APAP Showcases
Saturday January 16th: 8:20pm and 9:20pm
Morgan Suite, 2nd Floor, NY Hilton

On Ensemble Performance with Kaoru Watanabe and Sumie Kaneko
Sunday January 17th: 6:00pm
Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place Brooklyn NY 11215

What Presenters are saying:
“The Aratani World Series was thrilled to have On Ensemble in our inaugural season. This company delivers a diverse and artistically mind blowing performance. Shoji Kameda does an excellent job contextualizing the program from the stage and every member is spot on in terms of virtuosic technique and theatrical presentation. Audiences jumped to their feet begging for more. A young, energetic program with broad appeal, we were proud to present On Ensemble.”
Judy Mitoma
, Series Producer and Curator, World Festival of Sacred Music

“On Ensemble was a pleasure to present and the concert program was extremely well received by the students and teachers. Infusing the art form of taiko with a myriad of influences, the music is unique and compelling. The members are remarkable musicians and have a true passion for their work. Beyond their energetic music, one highlight of the performance was a question and answer session with the young audience, which the ensemble approached with sincerity and encouragement. With outstanding musicianship and thought-provoking discussion, it was exactly the kind of experience we strive to offer our participants… I would recommend On Ensemble highly for any presenter looking for an engaging and enlightening world-music ensemble.
Theresa Willis Peters, 
Program Coordinator, Design for Sharing

“The contemporary music of On Ensemble blended with traditional Taiko made this a totally new experience! Aside from the incredible talent and energy of the On Ensemble, we found them to be a presenter’s dream. From their enthusiastic outreach performance to the question and answer session that followed, the On Ensemble was a total joy!”
Marlene Hendrickson
, University of Montana Presents

Represented by: Rahcel Cohen, Cadence Arts Network, APAP Booth 1022
ph: 310 701 9191 email: rachel@cadencearts.com

Up Next: Taiko Heroes 2

November 16th, 2015 | posted by:


A long time ago in a mountain town far far away… Two childhood friends grew up playing taiko together dreaming of far of destinations. When they were of age they set off to learn from the great taiko masters seeking them out in islands across the sea. They gathered knowledge, honed their skills and gathered more like minded musicians from across the land and became known as On Ensemble. Every year they set off across the galaxy in their modified (with duct tape) Toyota Engineering Corporation Sienna Model Light Freighter to spread their message of music.

It’s time for our annual concert series at the Miles Memorial Playhouse! Taiko Heroes is a chance for us to put together new material and gather friends and family to have one last concert before the year ends. It started as our ‘Works In Progress’ series and it still serves as our own creative space to try new arrangements and pieces. Recently we’ve also expanded the idea to include more people from the On Ensemble family! This year we’ll be featuring On Ensemble founding member and current LATI head instructor Kristofer Bergstrom as a guest artist as well as PROTA a young taiko group that is full of some of SoCals best young taiko talent! See you there!

Taiko Heroes 2
On Ensemble / Kris Bergstrom / PROTA
December 19th 8:00pm
December 20th 2:00pm
Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
General Admission: $22.50 pre-sale/$25 door

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On Ensemble in St. Louis

October 27th, 2015 | posted by:

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
Tickets: $15/$20
2720 Sutton
Maplewood, MO 63143

Taiko Groove : On Ensemble and Mu Daiko

October 27th, 2015 | posted by:

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

Chicago/Fort Wayne/Lakewood Tour Recap

October 15th, 2015 | posted by:

Where to start. I really meant to be doing tour updates along the way but neglected to so get ready for the big Chicago/Fort Wayne/Lakewood tour recap! The tour started with me loading up the trailer and hitting driving to Moab UT and stayed at Hop’s house (Thanks Hop!) which is a well known touring taiko musician road stop. It’s about as far as you can possibly drive from Los Angeles in one day and sets you up well to cross the rockies so we end up staying there a lot! Also Hop is an awesome taiko nut and great fun to hang out with so a big part of it is for the company. As an added bonus Moab is beautiful and when I drove in the moonlit desert scenery almost made me forgot about the 10 hour drive.

The next day I drove through the Rockies to pick Maz up at the Denver airport. The drive through the Rockies was absolutely beautiful as the aspens were all changing color. I must have picked the exact perfect day to make that drive and a TON of people from Denver had the same idea because the traffic getting out of the Rockies into Denver was insane. But you know I live in Los Angeles so it made me feel like I was on the 10 but with better scenery. By the time I picked up Maz at the airport I was several hours late and we drove well into the night to make up time. Luckily as we were driving through Nebraska the lunar eclipse was in full view right in front of us the whole night. It made for another beautiful drive and I thought that somehow though absolute luck we must have scheduled this tour for the most picturesque driving possible.

After spending a night somewhere in Nebraska we drove into Chicago and picked up Eien and Sumie from Ohare and met up with Ho Etsu Taiko! We performed together at the Old Town School of Music on a Wednesday night to a packed house. It was a great performance and the Old Town School of Music is such a wonderful magical place! Everywhere you turn there are music and dance classes and people hanging out and art everywhere! It’s exactly what a center for music and dance should be like! After the Old Town School of Music performance we had two days of rehearsals and preparation for ROTATIONS. Followed by two great performances with Ho Etsu Taiko on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. There will be some pictures and video of ROTATIONS soon and I will post them as soon as I get them! The concert series was a HUGE success both artistically and organizationally and I’d like to give huge props to all of Ho Etsu Taiko: Jason, Tiana, Alexa, Donny, Ryan, Dana, Emily and Jamie for an amazing job well done! Also a shout out to Grace for her back stage help SOUNDGUY and to the ever awesome taiko-tech-do-everything-wonder-woman Sarah for all of her help. Read the rest of this entry »

Rotations Behind the Scenes

September 20th, 2015 | posted by:

Take a sneak peep behind the scenes of our upcoming collaborative concert with Ho Etsu Taiko in Chicago. I’ve been working with Ho Etsu for the past year and half and it’s been really rewarding to work with a group like this over a longer period of time. They were the first group outside of On Ensemble that I taught Lion Chant to and they helped debut the piece at the 2014 World Taiko Gathering. We’ve been working on more collaborative pieces and this video gives you a little behind the scenes look into that process! Enjoy!

New Videos

August 29th, 2015 | posted by:

Finally got the videos from our February concert at the Aratani Theater with Kaoru Watanabe and Sumie Kaneko uploaded!

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