Here are the groups performing at this year’s final concert!
Swarthmore Taiko with Joe Small and Isaku Kageyama
Swarthmore Taiko started in 2000 at Swarthmore College through the efforts of Prof. Kim Arrow and students in the dance department, and took on the form of both studio and repertory classes. Students Joe Small and Alex Hudson formed and co-directed a related student group by 2002, with off-campus performance activities, visits to Intercollegiate Taiko Invitationals, and a standalone, full-length concert in 2004~2005. This is Swarthmore’s first visit, and their first appearance at any taiko community-related event since 2005. Performing members: Josie Hung, Kira Emmons, Jason Wong.
Joe Small is a professional taiko drum artist and choreographer. Joe started learning taiko as a Swarthmore student in 2002, then later at the Taiko Center of the Pacific under Kenny and Chizuko Endo, as well as through internships with Asian-American groups San Jose Taiko and Portland Taiko, and Tamgawa University’s group. After a taiko-centered Fulbright Fellowship to Japan, he became an apprentice for KODO from 2007~2009. Joe has been a pick-up member of Marco Lienhard’s Taikoza since 2009, and a disciple of Eitetsu Hayashi and the sole foreign member of his Japan-based professional ensemble, Fu-Un no Kai, since 2012. From 2014~2017 Joe taught at Los Angeles Taiko institute, co-founded Small Mountain Studios with Isaku Kageyama, and performed taiko in mixed-disciplinary works. In 2015, Joe debuted his first original evening-length work, “Spall Fragments”, touring Los Angeles and San Francisco the following year. Joe then joined Australia’s professional taiko ensemble, Taikoz, for their 2017-18 season including concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Angel Place. Joe began teaching at Swarthmore in the Fall of 2018 and holds a BA in Dance from Swarthmore, and an MFA in Dance from UCLA.
Isaku Kageyama – Isaku Kageyama is a taiko drummer and recording artist based in Los Angeles, CA. His resume includes performances on networks such as NBC and VH1, venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and tours of across North, South, and Central America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. As an ensemble performer, he currently works with Asano Taiko US UnitOne. As a solo artist, he works with film-scoring extravaganza The Masterpiece Experience, world music group Rhythm of the Universe, and Materia Collective. Formerly a principal drummer of premiere ensemble Amanojaku, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the Berklee College of Music and a Master of Arts from Longy School of Music of Bard College. He is also a two-time National Odaiko (large drum) Champion, becoming the youngest person to win highest honors at the Mt. Fuji Odaiko Contest in 2000, and Hokkaido in 2003.”
Suwa style ensemble residing in Westchester, NY. Our vision is to bring the joy of taiko to as many people as possible.
We practice at the Taiko Masala Dojo every Saturday and have performed at various events including Brooklyn Botanical Garden Sakura Matsuri, Randall Island’s Sakura Festival, Mitsuwa Japanese Mall Summer and New Year’s Festivals and at the Tokyo Brooklyn Expo. Our teacher, Mr. Hiro Kurashima, was a student of Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi in Okaya, Nagano. Many of us have visited the Osuwa Taiko Dojo in Okaya to further learn the history and traditions of Osuwa Taiko pieces. We are honored to perform at ECTC in front of so many people who all love Taiko music.
New York Taiko Aiko Kai (NYTAK)
New York Taiko Aiko Kai is one of the Taiko groups in residence as part of the TC Taiko Society at Teachers College, Columbia University. It began in 2002 when a few families at an Upper West Side public school began practicing Taiko with a hope to pass Japanese culture to their children. Some of the founding members were taught directly from the late Grandmaster Oguchi Daihachi in Okaya city, Japan and Hiro Kurahima, Osuwa Daiko Shihan is the founding teacher of the group, and continues to teach and perform regularly with NYTAK.
Formed in 2018 by founding members Jason Seymore, Abby Kingman, Miho Connolly, and Matthew Bernal, KŌZEN is New Hampshire’s only professional taiko drumming performing ensemble. KŌZEN, which means; of an open mind, and of giving spirit, continues to explore the sounds and intricacies of Japanese drumming with the intention of sharing the art with audiences from all walks of life. KŌZEN is also affiliated with the first school for Japanese taiko drumming in New Hampshire, Hokuto Taiko Dojo – which has a mission to create value in the local New Hampshire community through education, performance, and cultural immersion.
One of the earliest collegiate Taiko drumming groups established on the East Coast, Gendo Taiko was founded at Brown University in the Fall of 2004. Initially dubbed Brown Taiko, Gendo’s musical styles were originally based on those of Wadaiko Gensou, a semi-professional Taiko group based in Miyagi, Japan. Today, Gendo Taiko continues to build and acquire new drums, expand its repertoire by composing new songs, and collaborate with the greater Taiko community. In 2006, Gendo was given the name 幻道, loosely translating to “path of free imagination,” representing the journeys taken by members in years past, and the experience of creative inspiration we hope to pass down to future members and audiences in the years to come.
As a relatively young taiko team, Yamatai is energetically developing its individual style. Our current repertoire consists of pieces written by Bonten (a professional taiko group in Japan), traditional and community taiko pieces, and original compositions by Yamatai members and alumni. Through rigorous study and training, Yamatai seeks to explore musical possibilities of taiko drumming in contemporary adaptations while respecting the origins of the traditional art. We are excited to be a part of the growing international taiko community, and to share our passion for taiko with our audience!
Miyako Taiko aims to strengthen its members’ practice of taiko, develop relationships within the taiko community, and broaden public knowledge of the art and traditions of taiko. Founded in 2014, Miyako Taiko is a community taiko group based in Washington DC and is part of the Mark H Taiko School.
In 1979, Soh Daiko was established under the guidance of the New York Buddhist Church as the first taiko group on the East Coast. Asking Reverend Hozen Seki for a name that would mean “peace, harmony, and working together,” the group was given the name “Soh Daiko” (僧太鼓). The group’s vision has expanded from their roots in supporting the local Japanese-American community to sharing taiko with a broader audience, leading to performances across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. Their current repertoire includes traditional compositions from Shinto music tradition, adaptations of existing taiko compositions, and original arrangements and compositions by its own members. With a total of 81 members contributing to the group’s history, this year marks Soh Daiko’s 40th Anniversary.
CU Taiko was started in 2013 by Akira Baruah (SEAS ’16), Su Anne Lee (SEAS ’15), Andras Molnar (TC ’15) and Diego Song (SEAS ’16). What began with a few players and plastic drums has grown into a lively club that has managed to grow connections with many wonderful clubs in the New York Metropolitan area and beyond. Led by co-presidents Koh Yamakawa and Sachi Yuan, we mayhave some room to grow but we’re excited to show you what we’re made of!
Founded in 2009, Kazenodaichi Taiko strives to honor the art of Japanese kumi-daiko playing, and bring the power, beauty and enjoyment of taiko performance to Bowling Green and the greater Northwest Ohio region.
Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers
Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers (RAW) is a Taiko group made up of Torontonians who identify as East and Southeast Asian women. We are a drumming group that exists as a critical response and challenge to both systemic and internalized oppressions. Through performance, education, and community outreach, we seek to challenge, redefine and represent ourselves, and to inspire ourselves and others in striving for racial and gender equality. Through artistic creation and active development, we carve space for self-expression, authentic engagement, community, and empowerment.