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A Kurosawa-esque meditative and haunting journey featuring master musicians on percussion and Japanese flutes.
KAORU WATANABE is a practitioner of various Japanese traverse bamboo flutes, the taiko drum as well as Western flute. His music can be best described as an ever shifting blend of the folk and classical traditions of Japan with contemporary improvisational and experimental music.
Kaoru was born in St. Louis, MO to symphony musician parents. In 1997, after graduating from the Manhattan School of Music with a BFA in jazz flute and saxophone performance, Kaoru moved to Japan and joined the internationally renowned taiko drum ensemble Kodo. Based in Sado Island in the Niigata prefecture, Kaoru toured across the globe with Kodo, performing the taiko, traditional Japanese folk dance and song, and especially the various fue (bamboo flute) such as the noh kan, ryuteki and shinobue. From 2005 to 2007, Kaoru served as one of Kodo's artistic directors, focussing on their world music festival Earth Celebration. Kaoru considers working closely with legendary Kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo a pivotal point in his artistic development.
In late 2006 Kaoru left Kodo and returned to NY to teach and continue performing fue, western flute and taiko in a variety of musical and artistic settings. Recent projects have taken him across the US, Canada, Japan, Mongolia, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Honduras.
Kaoru teaches taiko and Japanese music at Princeton University, Colby College and Wesleyan University as well as his own school in Brooklyn, the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center, where people can develop fundamental playing technique, learn repertoire and acquire a better understanding of the cultural and historical background of taiko in both Japan and the US. Recent performances have included performances with Kenny Endo, Kiyohiko Semba, Jason Moran, Kaneko Ryutaro, Kakinuma Koji, On Ensemble, Adam Rudolph, Alicia Hall Moran, Jason Moran and others.
TATSUYA NAKATANI (percussion) is originally from Osaka, Japan. In 2006 he performed in 80 cities in 7 countries and collaborated with 163 artists worldwide. In the past 10 years he has released nearly 50 recordings on CD.
He has created his own instrumentation, effectively inventing many instruments and extended techniques. He utilizes drumset, bowed gongs, cymbals, singing bowls, metal objects, bells, and various sticks and bows to create an intense, organic music that defies category or genre. His music is based in improvised/ experimental music, jazz, free jazz, rock, and noise, yet retains the sense of space and beauty found in traditional Japanese folk music.
In addition to live solo and ensemble performances he works as a sound designer for film and television. He also teaches Masterclasses and Workshops at the University level. He also heads H&H Production, an independent record label and recording studio based in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was selected as a performing artist for the Pennsylvania Performing Artist on Tour (PennPat) roster as well as a Bronx Arts Council Individual Artist grant.