On Ensemble returned from a great weekend at the 2nd Annual Eastern Taiko Conference. It was quite a busy weekend. On Thursday I (Shoji) flew into New York and performed that night with Kaoru Watanabe and Patrick Graham at Zebulan. It was a great way to start the weekend. We performed an all improvised set and it’s always great to perform with musicians like Kaoru and Patrick. The next day we drove to Wesleyan and met up with Maz and Kris who were on tour with Taikoproject. The three of us spent the weekend leading workshops and getting a sense of the East Coast taiko community. Through our tours we’ve met quite a few of the East Coast groups but it’s still surprising how quickly groups are springing up.
On Saturday we performed a great concert with Kaoru Watanabe, Patrick Graham, Kenny Endo, Miles Endo, Isaku Kageyama and TAIKOPROJECT. In the first half we played an integrated set with Kenny, Kaoru and Patrick based on our ongoing TAIKO 2.0 collaboration. Isaku and Miles joined in for a couple of pieces and really added to the mix. In the second half Maz and Kris switched costumes and took the stage as TAIKOPROJECT. I joined them to perform “Omiyage” then Kenny led a rousing 8 person version of “Symmetrical Soundscapes” to end the concert. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some video of the concert soon in the meantime enjoy these photos from Ben Pachter’s flickr account.
All in all it was a great weekend of taiko. A huge thank you goes out to Cheryl Tan and the organizers of the 2nd annual Eastern Taiko Conference who did a great job organizing the conference. At each one of these taiko gatherings there are a ton of behind the scenes people who helped make all this happen. Stuart Paton and Burlington Taiko were carting drums around everywhere, David Cheetham came all the way from Vegas and was a life saver producing the concert, there were helpful volunteers everywhere and somebody made hundreds of warm musubi to greet the participants as they arrived. As a workshop leader and performer we have the easy job just show up teach a workshop and play but the real props should go to all the organizers and volunteers who make these events possible.