from left to right Winchester Nii Tete, NATA, Cari and Isaku Kageyama.
Mother Earth Orchestra brought together instruments from various continents to a Noh Theater to take us on a musical journey that showed great potential of innovation. It showed the music is truly evolving from its launch at Tokyo Harajuku Crocodile just a month ago. Music allows for such development through collaborations that can be more than the sum of its parts. And Music directs us to further fulfillment.
A 15 minute cab ride from Isogo Station. Or take bus 64 or 78 from Isogo station on the JR line or Byobugaura station on the Keikyu line and get off at Sasabori. Five minute walk from Sasabori bus stop.
please come to the Crocodile in Omotesando tonight (see previous blog post for details). follow Isaku Kageyama on Twitter _ @isakukageyama and claim your free beer tonight: 木曜日に原宿クロコダイルでライブやります。 僕に「ツイッターで見た」と話しかけてくれればクロコダイルビールご馳走します。 http://j.mp/cCTDlM Playing at Harajuku Crocodile from 20:00 on Thursday the 19th. I’ll buy you a beer if you make it out! Isaku will be cooking up a melting plot of a hot groove with Japanese sax legend Kazutoki Umezu, master percussionist from Ghana Winchester Nii Tete, bassist virtuoso from the US Craig Harris and a Japanese who plays an aboriginal instrument NATA. No borders for this batch.
Isaku Kageyama on taiko drums will lead his Mother Earth Orchestra, a multicultural celebration of sound, with Winchester Nii Tete on African drums, Kazutoki Umezu on saxophones, Craig Harris on bass and Nata on didgeridoo. It’s Great Japanese Music from modern-day Tokyo that follows proudly in the footsteps of the Art Ensemble of Chicago _ an energetic driving groove, where anything goes. It is funky, fun, free. And it’s the kind of exhilarating music that makes everything seem somehow a lot easier to bear. At the Crocodile in Harajuku Thursday Aug. 19. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Music starts 8 p.m. 6-18-8 B1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo TEL: 03-3499-5205. 3,000 yen admission (drinks, food available but will cost you extra). For more information, email Isaku at email@example.com Isaku Kageyama is an award-winning taiko drummer and a member of Tokyo-based taiko ensemble Amanojaku, and teaches taiko not only all over Japan but also in Brazil and in the U.S. He also plays with musicians of various genres, including Toshinori Kondo, Winchester Nii Tete, Seijuro Sawada, Cari, Terumasa Hino and Yoshinori Kikuchi. He leads his taiko rock group called Hybrid Soul, with Chris Young on electric guitar and Pat Glynn on bass, which is coming out with a CD this year. The point through all this is to cross musical and cultural boundaries to claim a legitimate and respected place for taiko and Japanese-American music in the legacy of modern art and innovation. Isaku, 28, was born in San Francisco and began studying at age 6 with Kenny Endo, formerly of San Francisco Taiko Dojo, who now works out of Hawaii and is one of America’s most respected taiko drummers. Isaku began studying with Yoichi Watanabe of Amanojaku, master composer in modern Tokyo-style taiko, shortly after he began his studies with Kenny Endo. Isaku Kageyama now performs with Amanojaku all over Japan and abroad, and has done concerts in Rio De Janeiro, Denver, Honolulu and other cities. He has also taken part in Japanese TV shows with SMAP, Shuzo Matsuoka, Tsunku and the Sumida River fireworks, as well as in TV ads for Aioi Insurance Company. Follow Isaku Kageyama on Twitter: @isakukageyama Listen to his music on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/isakukageyama
It is so important for a person to take a stand for the music, or whatever else, he or she stands for. And Isaku really took a stand _ literally on his cajon _ with Winchester Nii Tete and Cari at “The Beat Ahead” at Harajuku Crocodile in Tokyo. Isaku Kageyama has been playing professionally for years in Amanojaku, the taiko troupe led by his master teacher Yoichi Watanabe, as well as other contexts. Those situations often required the player to carry out the vision of the leader or pull the whole group together. A lot of musical technique, hard work and dedication is involved in carrying that out. But something different happened that night. Isaku told his own story, holding his own with full accountability for what he stands for _ his own colors, his own music, his own view of the world. It was a cathartic moment for my son _ and for me. All the technique in the world doesn’t make sense or take meaning without this sense of purpose. And that’s what makes it all _ the pursuit of technique, the years of hard work, the struggles of everyday life _ worth it: That real purpose. It was stunning to see the transformation before me, although I knew all along someday it would happen. I forgot to take photos.
“The Beat Ahead” opened with a rock group led by Isaku’s new collaborator Yuu Ishizuka, who hails from Oedo Sukeroku Taiko. The closing segment was all taiko with Isaku and Yuu collaborating. It was great to see drummers from different backgrounds share ideas and create new sounds _ something that surprisingly happens rarely in the world of taiko. There is so much more to be explored.