TAIKOPROJECT was founded in 2000 in Los Angeles, California by a group of young, emerging taiko drummers seeking to create a truly American style of taiko by blending the traditional forms in which they were raised with an innovative and fresh aesthetic approach to the Japanese drum. Since that time the musicians have garnered critical acclaim from all over the world and amassed an impressive resume.
TAIKOPROJECT first received international notice when they became the first American taiko group to win the prestigious 2005 Tokyo International Taiko Contest, winning over the many Japanese taiko groups in attendance. That same year Taikoproject was cast in the Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial, the first and only national ad campaign to prominently feature taiko. Performances in some of America's highest profile events, including the 2009 Academy Awards and the 2011 Grammy Awards, followed. TAIKOPROJECT highlights in 2012 include performances for the televised National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington DC and the Fall X-Factor semi-finals. TAIKOPROJECT was honored to receive the annual Visionary Award for artistic excellence and achievement from the East West Players, the nation's premier Asian American theatre.
TAIKOPROJECT has performed and recorded with some of the world's most-recognized musical artists, including Usher, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Vicci Martinez, A.R. Rahman, the rapper Xzibit, Kanye West, producer Squeak E. Clean, the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars, and the international stars Antonis Remos from Greece, the Persian singer Mansour and DJ Tiesto.
– Tokyo / L.A. Taiko Fusion
Blending TAIKOPROJECT's youthful energy and groundbreaking aesthetic with the nuanced virtuosity of Kaneko, the former Artistic Director for the world-famous Kodo drummers, "Interlocking Rhythms" is a musical journey like no other taiko show on offer. Besides the raw, primal power of the taiko, the artists present a number of new collaborative works, featuring the koto (Japanese harp/zither), yokobue (Japanese bamboo flutes), chappa (Japanese hand cymbals), marimba, and udu (clay pot drum).
Featuring TAIKOPROJECT + Ryutaro Kaneko: 10 performers.
TAIKOPROJECT’s exhilarating and explosive concert of percussive power, strength and precision artfully blends music, theater, choreography, costumes and set design. Immersing audiences in a world of aural and visual soundscapes, the company’s violent, artful fluidity and graceful movement harkens back to taiko's ancient roots in the martial arts. TAIKOPROJECT’s power taiko unites ancient Japanese tradition with 21st century American innovation. Instruments featured are percussion, bamboo flutes, marimba and koto (Japanese harp).
9-12 performers, for venues with a large stage and full production capabilities.
TAIKOPROJECT’s core musicians in a high energy, dynamic performance contrasting the power and excitement of traditional Japanese drums with the subtle melodic accompaniment and nuance of the koto (Japanese harp), marimba, and yokobue (bamboo flute).
6 performers, streamlined technical considerations.
EDUCATIONAL & COMMUNITY OUTREACH:
BIG RHYTHMS, BIG DRUMS assemblies
TAIKOPROJECT’s acclaimed educational show has been performed across America to tens of thousands of students. Combining engaging explanations of taiko history in the U.S. and Japan, instrumentation, notation, and personal histories, our school show enthralls children of all ages and can be adapted for elementary, junior high and high school students.
Performed by 5 musicians
This interactive workshop engages students of all ages, as well as members of the community, in a “hands-on” experience of taiko drumming, movement and tradition. Taught by the TAIKOPROJECT professionals, drums seen in the concert performance will be used. Participants get a full 60 - 120 minute session aimed towards elementary school students through adults.
Led by 1-2 musicians
"TAIKOPROJECT is a tsunami of sound. As pure as a tea ceremony, as fresh as hip-hop, and as focused as a laser, their show will stun you with their grace and precision"
-Mark Sovel, Curator, 2012 Port of LA Lobster Festival, Los Angeles CA
-Fresno Bee, Fresno CA
"With an artful blending of music, theater, choreography, costumes and set design, TAIKOPROJECT immersed the audience in a special world where traditions of the past inspire art of the present."
- Mitch Glickman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA
"TAIKOPROJECT is a terrific, youthful blend of tradition and emerging artistry. It is a hilarious and touching treatment of the artform of taiko and its deep importance to a distinctively American community...TAIKOPROJECT rings true."-
-Michael Reed, ASU Public Events, Phoenix AZ
"Brandishing traditional bachi sticks, the musicians circle and attack their wide drums with a violent, artful fluidity that harkens back to taiko's ancient roots in the martial arts. From there, the group draws from a broad palette of more western tones, including electronic instruments, hip-hop choreography, theatrical storytelling and video documentary. The blend allows for a much richer brand of songwriting than that of more purist taiko groups."
-Jakob Dorof, Philadelphia CityNews
"TAIKOPROJECT's performances were a great success, leaving our audiences exuberant and ready for more. Our two packed houses were thrilled with TP's multi-genre approach and their unique American take on the Japanese art of taiko."
-Matt Krashan, Director, UW World Series, Seattle WA
"TAIKOPROJECT is one of the most exciting next generation ensembles playing today. They play with sheer pleasure and consummate skill, telling a story of taiko that is deeply personal and recognizably universal."
-Marty Wollesen, UCSD ArtPower!, La Jolla CA
"They perform with ample grace, strength, and precision. Their choreography is indeed spirited and tinged with enthusiasm, but Artistic Director Bryan Yamami has not neglected the intense focus and carefully-plotted symmetry that are hallmarks of taiko."
-San Diego Arts, San Diego CA
"...they blew the roof off with their energy and willingness to take taiko into the 21st century by experimenting with various media and settings. They take American taiko outside the box."
- International Examiner, Seattle WA
"Although the group has a certain youthful swagger, the players are respectful of the tradition without being obsequious. They back up their youthful bravado with a high level of technical ability. Their brand of taiko is loud, fast and clean--the energy level set at maximum."
-The Bulletin, Vancouver, Canada
"Without a doubt, TAIKOPROJECT is one of the best performances to ever grace our stage in the past 12 years. Their stage performance was clever, engaging, exciting, educational and energetic. They easily transitioned from an outreach with kindergartners to a workshop with university percussion majors, keeping all information and tones age-appropriate and interesting.”
- Cindi Younker, Director, Buckman Arts Center, Memphis, Tennessee
NBC's The Voice with Vicci Martinez, Warner Brothers Studios, Burbank CA:
"Coolest performance of the night!"
-Adam Levine, Maroon 5
"The most powerful performance of the night!"
"A great performance!"
"TAIKOPROJECT's talent, energy and professionalism blew us all away. Their educational school shows gave students the opportunity to play taiko along with learning the history and traditions of the taiko. TAIKOPROJECT performed for over 5,000 K-12th grade students and to a sold out crowd at our public performance and all at 6,500 feet above sea level!"
- Peggy Thompson, Executive Director, Tahoe Arts Project, South Lake Tahoe CA
"TAIKOPROJECT's performance was electric! It was a perfect blend of music, narrative, and movement, and reinforced what was discussed in the classrooms. The finale involved audience participations with the students and when the teachers were brought up, the kids went crazy. It was a great moment."
- Peggy Magee, Classroom Connections Coordinator, Carpenter Center, Long Beach CA