The way over due update!

I’ve neglected our website for too long! Here’s a quick recap of the year so far!

In February I went out to teach workshops through Germany and supported the 4th European Taiko Festival. In March On Ensemble went out to Hawai’i for performances at UH Hilo and Leeward Community College. In May Maz and I taught workshops and performed at the 25th Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational. In June I taught workshops and performed at TAIKOPALOOZA 4 in Ulm Germany then returned to Los Angeles to work with Makoto Taiko and perform at their 20th Anniversary concert.

Next week we are returning to Santa Monica for our annual Meet Me At Reed Taiko Festival. This year we are excited to bring Yoki Daiko! This event is free and great for families!

Later in the Summer I’ll be headed to the North American Taiko Conference in Portland Oregon. After that On Ensemble will be headed to Brazil! Then I’ll be at the kaDON Fall Retreat in the Fall. I’ll try to keep this site more updated but no promises!

Meet Me At Reed Taiko Festival: Saturday June 29, 2019 5-7pm

Join On Ensemble and Yoki Daiko at the Meet Me At Reed Taiko Festival this Saturday, June 29, 2019 5-7 p.m. Admission is FREE and Pre-concert activities for all ages begin at 3 p.m. Bring picnic blankets, lawn chairs, and food, or enjoy rotating food trucks throughout the season.

Festival Location:

Christine Emerson Reed Park
1133 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Keiji Uesugi (director), Yoko Morishita, Michael Hirota, Diana Hirota, Scott Ichikawa, Stephanie Ichikawa, Rebecca Uesugi, Aya Yoshida, Elle Romero

Yoki Daiko (yōkē dai-kō), which means Joyous Drumming in Japanese, was formed in 1996 at the Tenrikyo Church located in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, as a way for the community to come together and experience the dynamic art of Japanese drumming. Through the thunderous beats, kinetic rhythms, and unified minds, Yoki Daiko shares their efforts to create a joyous life where all people of the world can live together in unity as brothers and sisters.

Masato Baba, Shoji Kameda, Abe Lagrimas Jr., Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

Established in 2002 On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the taiko world. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble is recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock to central asian overtone singing. Their fearless musical exploration has expanded the artistic range of the taiko and has taken these ancient instruments into new realms. The group’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.” On Ensemble was the first American taiko group to be invited to perform at the National Theater of Japan for the prestigious Nihon no Taiko concert series.

East Coast Taiko Conference


Had a great time at the East Coast Taiko Conference! A huge thank you goes out to Sophia Wang and Sarah Gilbert and the entire Taiko Tidesteam for all of their work in organizing this great event! Also a huge shout out to Soh Daiko and all my fellow workshop leaders! It's always fun to see everyone and share the stage together!

About a year ago Sarah called me and pitched the idea of creating a song that participants could learn online before the conference and that would embody the theme of Unity Through Diversity. Of course I said yes and started working on the idea. Fast forward a few months and I was in Spain working with Isabel Romeo Biedma and Andrés E. González when I came upon the theme of the song and the idea I wanted to convey. The piece is called Worldwide Matsuri and it's dedicated to this amazing and wonderful growing taiko community. More and more I'm seeing what kind of impact taiko has on so many people around the world. Every time we pick up bachi we are connected to all these crazy beautiful people and if we can all contribute our voice we can create a Worldwide Matsuri!

Creating this piece has also really helped me clarify what kaDON can be beyond just a great place to access quality instruction, repertoire and instruments. I'm inspired to use technology and social media to create real substantial connections between this amazing community. I want every person in the taiko taiko community to have the opportunity to play with taiko players they never thought they would be connected to. I want the act of playing taiko and making music and making art together to be a central part of what makes us a community and I'm excited about what I can do to help make all of this happen!

At the closing ceremony at the ECTC we had 35 taiko players who had never performed together share the stage to debut Worldwide Matsuri! It's so rewarding to see an idea come together and see the smiles and joy that performing together gives us.

After an amazing ECTC experience I was presented atThree Rivers community college where I gave a lecture demonstration on my experience in this art form. A huge thank you goes out to Will O'Hare for setting up this great opportunity!

I'm sitting at JFK waiting to board a plane to Hamburg where I'll be attending the European Taiko Conference this weekend! Looking forward to seeing more crazy taiko people, more late night hangs and more great performances and workshops!

January Tour Wrap-Up

We had a great January tour through Wyoming and Colorado! Our first stop on the tour was Thermopolis Wyoming where we performed for the local community, taught a hands on workshop to the high school music students, enjoyed the hot springs, visited an amazing dinosaur center and enjoyed the fare the the local brewery. After Thermopolis we headed to Casper where we did a multi day residency performing for local area students and culminating in a public performance. During our time off we managed to visit as many local breweries (sense a pattern here?) and even found a really great distillery! Then it was back in the van again and a drive down to Palmer Lake Colorado where we performed at the Tri-Lakes Arts Center to a great crowd! The final performance was presented by the Sakura Foundation in Littleton Colorado. Then it was back in the van for a monster drive with a brief stop in Albuquerque for a bowl of green chili stew! 

A huge thank you goes out to Jack, Caroline, Jesse, Carla, Courtney and the Sakura Foundation for presenting On Ensemble on this tour!

Happy New Year



2017 was a great year for On Ensemble. The highlights included touring to Guatemala and Nicaragua, performing at the North American Taiko Conference, returning to Maui to perform at the Zenshin Daiko Festival and performing at the Oregon Bach Festival. 

We are really looking forward to 2018 and have started off with a bang! First of all we have a new website and new promo photos! Like many January's we are starting this year off on the road! We had our first performance of the year last night in Santa Monica and we are currently on our way to Thermopolis WY for a tour with stops in Casper, Littleton and Colorado Springs. 

Next month I'll be headed to New York for the East Coast Taiko Conference then Maz and I will fly out to Hamburg Germany for the 3rd European Taiko Conference! More soon!