Taiko gigs

Photo by Ryan Bruss.
OCT. 4, 2009
AMANOJAKU concert at Kuroiso Bunka Kaikan,
490 Kami Atsu-zaki Nasu Shiobara-shi Tochigi 325-0026.
For tickets, please call 0287-63-3219.
Doors open 1 p.m. Music starts 2 p.m.
2,000 yen (1,000 yen for students).

OCT. 12, 2009
MINYO “LIVE” at Shinjuku Takanoya. 03-5919-0228.
Isaku Kageyama (taiko) with Rie Sakamoto (song), Seiemon Sawada (shamisen), Yoshinori Kikuchi (shakuhachi).
5-2-3-B1 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0022.
Doors open 6:30 p.m. Music starts 7 p.m.
Advance tickets 2,000 yen; at the door 2,500 yen.
For reservations, email: isaku.kageyama@amanojaku.info

OCT. 17, 2009
AMANOJAKU at DECHIKONKA, annual festival in Ehime Prefecture.
Call Kihoku city hall at 0895-45-1111.
Starts 6 p.m.

OCT. 22, 2009
THE BEAT AHEAD _ Wadaiko “live” at Harajuku Crocodile.
Featuring Isaku Kageyama and Yuu Ishizuka on taikos with Winchester Nii Tete, Chris Holland and other guests.
Call The Crocodile at 03-3499-5205.
6-18-8-B1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001.
Doors open 6 p.m. Music starts 7:30 p.m.
Advance tickets 3,000 yen. At door 3,500 yen.
For reservations, email: isaku.kageyama@amanojaku.info

DEC. 8, 2009
Call Sogetsu Hall at 03-3408-1154.
7-2-21 Akasaka Minato-ku Tokyo 107-8505.
Doors open 6.30 p.m. Music starts 7 p.m.
For reservations, email: isaku.kageyama@amanojaku.info

JAN 10, 2010.
Kameari Lirio Hall 03-5680-2222.
Doors open 2 p.m. Music starts 2:30 p.m.
1,000 yen donation.

JAN. 15-FEB. 8
AMANOJAKU workshops in Brazil.

APRIL 18, 2010.
AMANOJAKU concert at TOKYO FM Hall.
Doors open 5:30 p.m. Music starts 6 p.m.
Tokyo FM Hall 03-3221-0080.
1-7 Kojimachi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0080.
For reservations, email: isaku.kageyama@amanojaku.info

Edo Bayashi Conversations: A Heart-to-Heart Talk Between Japan and Ghana

Winchester Nii Tete, master percussionist from Ghana, joined a fascinating exchange _ quite literally, the talking drum _ with Japanese taiko by Daisuke Watanabe and my son Isaku Kageyama at Buddy in Tokyo Nov. 14, 2008.
It was still the first performance for the trio _ Edo Bayashi Conversations _ but that made it so fresh, totally titillating and fearlessly provocative.
How taiko rhythms sound juxtaposed with African rhythms is like savoring neo-cuisine gourmet _ the blend of the unexpected that’s utterly delightful.
The more these young musicians learn from each other and apply the lessons to their own genre, the more wonderful the Music can be that springs from this disarming group.
Just seeing how well they play together _ and so naturally _ gives listeners a good feeling _ maybe even hope for world peace, if that’s not saying too much.
The three young men have so much in common, although they are from different nationalities and musical backgrounds.
They share the same challenges of making their own the tradition of their musical legacy.
They also share the mission of trying to surpass the masters who came before them to add their own mark on that legacy.
It’s a wonderful idea that the men from Ghana, Japanese and Japanese-American backgrounds may hope to help each other achieve those goals.
Musicianship is not about competing with other players, Winchester says with a far wiser look than his 20-some years might be expected to bring in his eyes.
Music is about giving your 100 percent to make listeners happy.
Too many musicians make the mistake of seeing a stage as a place for proving you’re better than someone else _ when no one really cares about that.
And so if you play your heart out, the rest will take care of itself.

Talking Taiko Again


The Talking Drum takes an innovative turn when Isaku Kageyama, of Tokyo “taiko” _ or Japanese traditional drumming _ ensemble Amanojaku, gets together with Winchester Nii Tete, master percussionist from the Addy-Amo-Boye families of Ghana, for some serious heart-to-heart exchange in the universal language of music.

Isaku is my real-life son, and Winchester is dear to me like my son.
They have so much in common.
They are about the same age (in their 20s), both still man-child, grappling with the challenges of life.
They have both been playing music since they were children, and music is their passion and their life.
It’s fascinating for me to see how the rhythms blend and form counterpoints to each other.

Isaku puts it like this: the music is like “a conversation between two friends, with jokes, laughter _ questions and answers.”

I thank God Isaku has met someone like Winchester.
Artists are alone.
But they need peers _ fellow spirits.
Artists can endure all if they know at least one other artist he/she respects thinks what you’re doing is pretty darn good.
And collaborating with Winchester gives you all that and more.

Daisuke Watanabe, also in his 20s, and son of Amanojaku leader and master composer Yoichi Watanabe, on taiko joins the Conversation.

Their first-ever collaboration “raibu” is at Ekoda BUDDY Friday, November 14.
20:00 (Doors open 19:00)
TEL: 03-3953-1152
Futaba Kaikan B2F Asahigaoka 1-77-8 Nerima-ku 177-0005
3,000 yen admission.
For more information, call 090-8506-9885, or e-mail Isaku at isaku.kageyama@amanojaku.info