Posts Tagged ‘Ho Etsu Taiko’

Next Up: Rotations with Ho Etsu Taiko

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

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We are super excited about our upcoming collaborative concert series ‘Rotations’ with Ho Etsu Taiko on October 3rd and 4th at Chicago’s amazing Anthenaeum Theatre. I’ve been working with Ho Etsu Taiko fairly regularly for the past year when they brought me to work with their group in April of 2014. Since that time our relationship has continued to grow and the idea of this collaborative concert was born! We’ve been working on new music specifically for this concert and it’s going to be a great concert series!

ROTATIONS
Ho Etsu Taiko and On Ensemble
Saturday Oct 3rd 7:00pm and Sunday Oct 4th 2:00pm
Tickets: $22-27
Antheneum Theatre
2936 N. SOUTHPORT AVENUE
773-935-6860
BOX OFFICE: 773-935-6875

Minneapolis and Chicago Update

Friday, May 8th, 2015

I spent the last week in Minneapolis working with Mu Daiko and then Chicago working with Ho Etsu Taiko. Last year Ho Etsu Taiko was the first group I taught Lion Chant to outside of On Ensemble. Working with them was instrumental in developing the piece for other taiko groups and they helped me debut Lion Chant at the World Taiko Gathering last summer. This year they are bringing On Ensemble to Chicago in the fall for a series of concerts and we are using the work we did together last year as a foundation for developing new pieces and putting together a truly collaborative concert series.

With Mu Daiko I started teaching them Lion Chant, worked on Ready Set kaDON and material for another collaborative concert in the fall! I was amazed at how much we got accomplished over the weekend. The artistic director Jennifer Weir had been using the kaDON courses to prepare her group for our workshop time together very well. The result was that we got so much further with each of the pieces than we would’ve if I had just come to teach the pieces. Usually in a weekend of workshops I would be happy to teach the basic kecak part of Lion Chant and the exercises to get those parts nice and solid without worrying about the arrangement. Instead because of the prep work Jennifer and Mu Daiko did we were able to get through all of Ready Set kaDON, Lion Chant and part of another song in a weekend of working together.

It is really exciting to see how kaDON resources are being used in the community and SO EXCITING to realize just how much more can be accomplished in short periods of time working with a group using kaDON. As a workshop leader I’ve often felt the limitations of teaching within the workshop format. You have to keep what you teach very simple and it is hard to get to the deeper and more involved aspects of the art form. It often feels like I’m just scratching the surface. The depth can come from working with the same people repeatedly over a longer period of time and it is super exciting to be able to get to that depth much more quickly because people are using kaDON as a resource. It is very inspiring and inspires me to keep working on making kaDON the best resource it can be for the taiko community!

Ho Etsu Taiko Intensive

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

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I had a great weekend leading a taiko intensive for Ho Etsu Taiko. Ho Etsu Taiko originally started as a youth group with the Midwest Buddhist Temple. Four years ago they opened their membership to those outside of the temple and have become one of the most active and creative taiko ensembles in the Chicago area. They perform throughout the midwest and have worked with professional taiko players like Nagata Shachu and Tiffany Tamaribuchi and seek out collaborations with other artists in their area like noted Irish singer Paddy Homan. Here’s a link to a Chicago Tribune article about Ho Etsu Taiko, their recent collaboration with Paddy Homan and their temple’s attempts at reaching out to the surrounding communities.

In preparing for the intensive I had the group leader Jason send me videos and recordings of their recent work and was impressed with the quality of their recent work. When a group asks me to come in and work with them it’s important for me to try to get a sense of the character of the group and what they are trying to do musically and artistically. My goal is to help them become better versions of themselves and give them tools and techniques that they can use on their own to continue their artistic progress as a group. We exchanged several emails and had a face to face meeting to further understand where they are, where they want to go and come up with a set of focal points for our time together.

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When working with a group on an in depth basis I like to use pieces that they already play so that it’s more clear how they can implement different concepts that I introduce. I have found that this is much more effective than just teaching them a new drill. I’ve worked with groups in the past to improve their basic kata with a new drill and it will look great while playing the drill, playing relaxed and powerful but the moment they go back to playing the songs they are used to it just goes back to the way they were playing before. I’ve realized that it’s helpful to introduce basic concepts in a way that is more applicable right away.

Using two pieces from the groups repertoire I worked with them to improve their betta and naname basics, stage presence, listening and timing and worked with the composer of the pieces to flush out their pieces with different compositional techniques and approaches. I also taught them parts of a new composition of mine called Lion Chant and invited them to perform the piece as a part of a big multi group performance at the opening of the World Taiko Gathering. We got a lot done over the weekend and I’d like to thank Jason, Ryan, Donny, Dana, Tiana, Lannie, Emily and Alexa for all of their hard work and for taking such great care of me while in Chicago.

-shoji

Shoji Kameda is a Grammy nominated musician, composer and producer and a leading creative force in the taiko world. If you are interested in bringing him out to work with your group contact him at: shoji(at)onensemble.org.

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