Recorded June 10, 2015. 47.1 MB, 68 minute mp3 file.
From the Unit Souzou website:
Michelle Fujii creates contemporary work as a 4th generation Japanese-American through the art formm of taiko, Japanese drums, and Japanese folk dance placing “traditional” ethnic art within the present – not as a preservation – but as an active force that can continue to inspire and evolve. Fujii started her taiko training as a performing member of San Jose Taiko. After graduating with a degree in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, Fujii rejoined San Jose Taiko as artistic staff. In 2001 she was awarded the prestigious Bunka-cho fellowship from the Japanese government to study with Japan’s foremost traditional folk dance troupe, Warabiza, where she studied under the tutelage of master dancer/choreographer Shohei Kikuchi. Fujii has played with numerous groups including TAIKOPROJECT, On Ensemble, Shasta Taiko and served as Artistic Director of Portland Taiko for 9 years.
I spoke to Michelle about her performance history, her approach to both performance and teaching, and the thoughts behind her duo Unit Souzou.