Hello Friends, The last couple of weeks have been an intense period of activity- three weekends ago, I was performing and teaching at the first ever World Taiko Gathering (WTG). WTG and the other such gatherings, such as North American Taiko Conference (NATC), Collegiate Taiko Invitational and the East Coast Taiko Conference (ECTC) are great opportunities to connect with old friends and make new ones.
I've been playing taiko since 1986 and attended the first NATC in 1997 while I was playing with Soh Daiko. This was also the year before I moved to Japan to become a Kodo apprentice.
The concerts at WTG were titled Taiko Nation and featured six different groups and individual artists. I had the great pleasure of performing with two of them, the virtuosic TaikOz from Australia (with whom Kenny Endo was also a special guest) as well as a trio made up of two veterans of Kodo, Chieko Kojima and Eiichi Saito and myself. It was interesting to recall the conference I attended in '97, back before I really knew anything about the music, to almost two decades later in 2014 as an instructor and featured performer who is focused intently on the question of how to support and encourage the next generation of taiko players.
Another exciting development that was announced at WTG is the start of KaDON, an online resource for taiko and fue instruction presented by Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, one of the most respected taiko makers in Japan. I am honored to be one of the three instructors featured on KaDON and I hope it turns out to be beneficial for as many people as possible. Please visit Kadon.com for more details about this.
Last week, the aforementioned Chieko Kojima visited New York for a week for a performance with me at Shapeshifter. Lab in Brooklyn as well as a three day intensive at my studio. Ten participants from Boston, Philadelphia and NY areas stayed over night while Mari cooked delicious meals with a handful of volunteers, Cathy Tio, Cassandra Huebenthal, Yumiko Higaki and Alex Pfister who donated time and energy and food.
Coming up after this is a lot of traveling but continuing with classes in NY when I'm in town.
Hope to see you all soon and enjoy the summer until then!
Friday, Aug 8 | 7:30pm - 9:00pm | $16 Sumie Kaneko @Regatta Bar (Boston) Sumie Kaneko's project J-Trad & More will present trio version with Kaoru Watanabe on Taiko and Fue, Yoshiki Yamada on Bass. New pieces will be played!. She is currently making new album with new instrumentation, you will see some of them. Must come! 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge MA, 02138. http://www.regattabarjazz.com http://www.sumiekanekomusic.com
Saturday, Aug 16 | 3:00pm Palo Alto Buddhist Temple presents: Hiroshima & Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble Kenny Endo (taiko), Kaoru Watanabe (taiko, fue), Hiroshi Tanaka (taiko), Abe Lagrimas, Jr. (drums, vibraphone, ukulele) More info TBA Schultz Cultural Arts Hall at the Jewish Community Center 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303 http://www.paloaltojcc.org/on-campus/albert-janet-schultz-cultural-arts-hall/
Saturday, Aug 23 Kaoru Watanabe and Sumie Kaneko at Tenri Cultural Institute (New York) First duo concert with Kaoru Watanabe. Program will be mixture of Kaoru's original, traditional piece, Sumie's new compositions. More info TBA 43A West 13th Street, New York, 10011 http://www.tenri.org http://www.sumiekanekomusic.com
Friday, Sept 5 Fukushima Ongakudo http://www.f-shinkoukousha.or.jp/ongakudou/wp-content/uploads/282cb4d1d63ddf0177ffad86cd8f937a.pdf More info TBA
Thursday, Sept 11 Resonance 2014@Super Deluxe More info TBA