Kiyoshi Nagata

Recorded March 30, 2017. 47.4 MB, 69 minute mp3 file.

From the Nagata Shatchu website:

Kiyoshi Nagata, the ensemble’s artistic director, is Canada’s preeminent taiko soloist who has been performing in a career that spans 33 years. His principal studies were with Daihachi Oguchi (as artistic director and performer of the Toronto-based, Suwa Daiko from 1982 to 1992) and with Kodo (as an apprentice from 1993 to 1994). With the assistance of a Chalmers Performing Arts Training Grant in 1999, Kiyoshi studied classical percussion with Paul Houle at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Since 1998 Kiyoshi has taught a credit course in taiko at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. In September 2003, he began teaching a public course at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. For eight years, he instructed two community groups, Isshin Daiko in Toronto and Do-Kon Daiko in Burlington, which he helped establish in 1995. Kiyoshi is also regularly invited by universities and taiko groups to conduct workshops and present lectures.

In 1994, Kiyoshi founded the cross-cultural percussion ensemble, Humdrum, whose debut Toronto performance was ranked fourth in Now Magazine’s “Top Ten Concerts of 1995”. He has composed and performed taiko music for dance, theatre, film and radio and continues to collaborate with artists from all genres of music including traditional Japanese instrumentalists.

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.

The Discover Nikkei interview mentioned during the conversation can be found here.

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!

Jennifer Milioto Matsue


Recorded January 26, 2017. 34 MB, 53 minute mp3 file.

From Jennifer’s page on the Union College website:

Jennifer Milioto Matsue (B.A. Wellesley College and M.A. and Ph.D. University of Chicago) is an ethnomusicologist specializing in modern Japanese music and culture. She has conducted research on a variety of music cultures in contemporary Japan including the Tokyo hardcore rock scene, nagauta (a type of traditional chamber music featuring the three-string lute shamisen), raves, the increasingly popular world of taiko (Japanese ensemble drumming), and most recently, Vocaloid Hatsune Miku. She is interested in how performers find meaning through participating in such worlds, with a particular focus on women’s roles in music making. She is the author of the monograph Making Music in Japan’s Underground: The Tokyo Hardcore Scene (Routledge 2008) and Focus: Music in Contemporary Japan (Routledge 2015), as well as several articles on related topics. She is Director of Interdisciplinary Studies and of the World Musics and Cultures Program, and serves as 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.

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!

Mark H Rooney


Recorded January 31, 2017. 36.5 MB, 54 minute mp3 file.

From Mark H Rooney’s website:

Mark H Rooney – the world’s most dangerous half-Japanese/half-Scottish solo improvisational taiko artist – studies, performs, and teaches taiko, a dynamic form of full-body drumming based in Japanese tradition. Mark combines this traditional foundation with a modern sensibility to create performances and classes that emphasize connection, reaction, and interaction.

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.

Chiara Codetta Raiteri


Recorded October 18, 2016. 29.4 MB, 43 minute mp3 file.

Chiara is a researcher, percussionist, and educator interested in the construction of identity processes. Currently she is working on her thesis at the University of Milan, where she is writing about taiko.

In our discussion, we talk about her performance background, her experiences both as a taiko educator and performer, and the cross-cultural observations she’s made while studying taiko in Europe, Japan, and the United States.

New Interview: Angela Ahlgren

We’ve just posted a new Interview to the website!

Click on this link to visit the page for Ben’s interview with Angela Ahlgren, Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University. Angie is both a taiko performer and a taiko scholar, and over the course of our conversation we talk about how both realms have intersected with each other.

Angela Ahlgren


Recorded October 7, 2016. 37.9 MB, 59 minute mp3 file.

From the Bowling Green State University website:

Angela K. Ahlgren is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University. Her research and teaching interests include Theater History and Performance Studies; Asian American Theater and Performance; Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Performance; and Critical Dance Studies. Her writing appears in Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance, edited by Yutian Wong (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016) and the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (March 2011), and is forthcoming in Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, and Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance, edited by Clare Croft (Oxford University Press). Her manuscript, Drumming Asian America: Taiko, Performance, and Cultural Politics, is under review at Oxford University Press.

Before joining the BGSU faculty, Angela held faculty positions at Texas A&M University and Ohio University. She earned her PhD in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin.

In this interview, we talk about Angie’s history as both taiko performer and taiko scholar, how each has informed the other, and her current work.

Angie’s latest essay, entitled “Butch Bodies, Big Drums: Queering North American Taiko,” was just published in the latest issue of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture. It is available for reading on Project Muse.

Kate Walker


Recorded September 28, 2016. 43.5 MB, 63 minute mp3 file.

Kate Walker is a PhD Student in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield and a member of Tsuchigumo Daiko from Glasgow, Scotland. In this interview, we discuss her past and present as both taiko performer and taiko scholar. We talked about her first meeting with taiko, how it led to her interest not just as a performer but also as an academic, and her current research.

Yeeman Mui

Recorded September 20, 2016. 65 minute, 43 MB mp3 file.

From Yeeman Mui’s website:

Originally from Hong Kong, Yeeman moved to Honolulu in 2012 to study and teach traditional Japanese drumming at the Taiko Center of the Pacific. Mixing a combination of taiko and Orff education approach, it’s her dream to share the enjoyment of music to everyone of all ages and skill levels. Through activities such as body percussion, singing and dancing, she wants to help develop an individual’s sense of natural musicality. Outside of Hawaii and Hong Kong, Yeeman has also taught and performed in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Madrid, and recently conducted a series of teacher workshops in Macau.

In this interview, we discuss Yeeman’s education and performance background, how she got into both taiko and early childhood music education, and her current projects, including Taiko Tots, Taiko Together, and TaikOrff.

Taiko Tots is taught at the Taiko Center of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI. For more information, visit the class website.

Taiko Together is taught at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute in Torrance, CA. Visit Yeeman’s website or the Taiko Together Facebook page to learn more.

To learn more about the TaikOrff workshops for taiko and music teachers, visit the workshop website. The next workshop will be held in Washington, DC, December 17-18 2016. For more information, visit the workshop page.