New Interview: Ai Matsuda

We’re happy to release the latest in the TaikoSource interview series! This time, I spoke with Ai Matsuda. Born and raised in Japan before moving to Hawaii at the age of 16, Aichan has played with Hawaii Matsuri Taiko and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble, and has studied with Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, Yuu Ishizuka, Classical Japanese music (Kabuki Bayashi) from Saburo Mochizuki, and Edo Bayashi/Shinobue/Shishimai from Kyosuke Suzuki of the Taneo Wakayama School of Wakayama Shachu.

During our conversation, we talk about Aichan’s experiences playing taiko in Hawaii, the mainland United States, and Japan. Aichan discusses the various roles that taiko has had in her life, the various identities that taiko has taken on, and how her relationship with taiko has changed over time.

Visit the interview page to listen to or download the recording!

New Interview: James Beale

We’re happy to announce the next in our Interview series! This time, Ben spoke with James Beale. Relocating from the UK to the United Arab Emirates in 2014, James founded Shoten Taiko in Dubai, the first Taiko group based locally in the Middle East. In this discussion, we talk about his taiko journey, how playing taiko helped as he relocated to Dubai, and the idiosyncrasies that come with being the first taiko group in the Middle East.

Visit the interview page to check it out!

New Interview: Jennifer Weir

We’re happy to announce the release of another TaikoSource interview! This time, Ben spoke with Jennifer Weir of TaikoArts Midwest! In our discussion, we talk about Jennifer’s background and performance history, where taiko fits into her own journey, and the path from Theater Mu to Mu Daiko to TaikoArts Midwest, along with the challenges that come with starting a new taiko organization.

Visit the interview page to check it out!

New Interview: Brian Sole

We’re happy to release the latest in the TaikoSource Interview series! This time, Ben spoke with Brian Sole, director of Great Lakes Taiko Center and its performance group Raion Taiko. In our interview, we discuss Brian’s journey to Japan and back, and how taiko fit within this journey. We also talk about creating a taiko school and a taiko performance scene, and how one carves out a niche for oneself in a the cultural environment of a region.

Visit the interview page to listen to the interview or download the mp3!

New Taiko Music History Post: Kodo and the Path to “Irodori”

We’re pleased to announce the release of a new entry in the Taiko Music History article series!! This time, we explore the path taken by Kodo members in the 1980s towards “Irodori,” one of the most famous and popular pieces in the Kodo repertoire. In this article, we explore the influences incorporated into the work, other pieces that heralded its arrival, and the influence Leonard Eto’s composition had on the contemporary taiko world.

Click on the link to check it out!

Interview: Kiyoshi Nagata

We’re happy to announce the release of another entry in our Interview series! This time, Ben sat down (virtually, at least) with Kiyoshi Nagata of Nagata Shachu from Toronto, Canada. We spoke with Kiyoshi in advance of the release of Nagata Shachu’s Toronto Taiko Tales DVD and a series of concerts April 7-9 celebrating this release. During our conversation, we covered a wide range of topics, including Kiyoshi’s performance background, playing taiko in Toronto, the act of collaboration, teaching taiko in a university setting, and the troubles of recording taiko.

Click here to visit the interview page and listen to the interview or download the mp3 for listening later!

New Interview: Jennifer Milioto Matsue

It’s time for another TaikoSource Interview! Returning to the taiko scholar sub-series we began last year, this time I interviewed Jennifer Milioto Matsue, Associate Professor in Music, Asian Studies, and Anthropology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. During our conversation, we discuss her background as both musician and scholar, her diverse research interests, and her work on taiko both as a researcher and as the instructor of a class/ensemble on taiko performance. Click here to access the mp3 and listen to the interview!

New Interview with Mark H Rooney

We’ve added another interview to the collection, this time with taiko performer and teacher Mark H Rooney! During our discussion, we talk about Mark’s taiko journey, his thoughts on taiko pedagogy, and how to move cities and maintain a career as both performer and teacher.

Follow the link to listen to the interview or download the mp3!

East Coast Taiko Conference 2017

Last weekend, I was at the 2017 East Coast Taiko Conference at Brown University. As has been the case at every ECTC since 2012, I was running around all weekend taking photos! After editing what ended up being 3,527 photos between myself and one other photographer, I have uploaded selections from the weekend to the TaikoSource Facebook page. Visit the following links to check them out!

Day 1 – Friday, February 17

Day 2 – Saturday, February 18 – part 1

Day 2 – Saturday, February 18 – part 2: Concert

Day 3 – Sunday, February 19

New Interview: Michael Jürges

We’re happy to release the next in our interview series! This time, Ben spoke with Michael Jürges. Michael is a taiko scholar and the creator of the international Wadaiko Toshokan and the German-language BiblioTaiko portals. He earned his M.A. in Transcultural Studies at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in Germany. In his M.A. thesis, he explored and documented the gradual development and adoption of taiko drumming in Germany throughout the past three decades – a topic that he is currently looking to make into a book.

Visit the interview page to listen to the recording or download the mp3!