Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Taiko Master Kenny Endo and Hiromitsu Agatsuma on Shamisen at Japan Society on June 5, 2013

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On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, revered Hawaiian taiko master Kenny Endo joins forces with Japan’s trad-pop musical virtuoso Hiromitsu Agatsuma on tsugaru-shamisen (a three-stringed banjo-like instrument which originated in Northern Japan). Endo’s adrenaline-pumping performance vibes with Agatsuma’s fast, aggressive percussive sound, as they together, push the limits of one another’s instruments. Known internationally for border-crossing fusions and appealing contemporary expressions, these two musicians deliver a dazzling and unforgettable evening in their much-anticipated return to the Japan Society stage! Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street in New York. Tickets are $32/$27 Japan Society members. Buy tickets online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.

Kenny Endo. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Endo. Photo by Lia Chang

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kenny Endo began early training in western drums and percussion. He began his taiko career with the first two kumi-taiko groups established outside of Japan – L.A.’s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko, and then with the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In 1980, he embarked on a decade-long odyssey in his ancestral Japan, studying and performing with Osuwa Daiko, Sukeroku Taiko, Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, Hogaku Hayashi with Mochizuki Ryu, and Matsuri Bayashi with Maru Kenjiro He has the honor of being the first foreigner to have received a “natori” in hogaku hayashi.

In the greater musical world in America, “Kenny Endo” has become synonymous with the word “taiko.” He is one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between the traditional and his own globally-inspired style. Endo also has an MA in Ethnomusicology and is highly sought after for educational programs and workshops.

Endo has recorded five CDs of original taiko compositions and his latest CD release is “Convergence”, a collaborative work with Kaoru Watanabe, which is now available on CD Baby. He was a featured artist on the TV special “Spirit of Taiko” in America and as artist-in-residence at New York’s Lincoln Center Institute. A consummate artist, he blends Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced by his jazz background and by collaborations with musicians from around the world. He has performed for musicians Prince and the late Michael Jackson, as well as the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles. He has performed with Japanese musicians Hayashi Eitetsu (taiko), Sato Michihiro (Tsugaru shamisen), Semba Kiyohiko (percussion), Watanabe Kazumi (jazz guitar), Uzaki Ryudo (rock & roll), Koinuma Hiroyuki, Leonard Eto, Hirota Joji, John Kaizan Neptune, Christopher Yohmei Blaisdel, Amanojaku, and many others. He opened for The Who, performed a duet with singer Bobby McFerrin, and is featured on the soundtracks of Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride,” and “Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” He also recorded in motion capture suit for James Cameron’s “Avatar.” He has also performed as guest soloist with the Honolulu Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, traveling across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, the former Soviet Union, and the Americas in his effort to share taiko with the world. Endo had a day named for him – “Kenny Endo Day” – by the Mayor of Honolulu, and was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts for American Masterpieces. www.kennyendo.com

Other Articles by Lia Chang
Taiko Master Kenny Endo and Hiromitsu Agatsuma on Shamisen at Japan Society on June 5, 2013 http://wp.me/pla1d-7ND
Two-Time Grammy Nominated Hiroshima Kicks off 2013 Spring Tour at The Laguna Playhouse, with Special Guest Taiko Master Kenny Endo on April 15, 2013
Lorey Hayes’ Power Play Set for National Black Theatre Festival 7/29-8/3
Ghostlight Records Releases ‘Giant’ Original Cast Album Featuring Kate Baldwin, Brian d’Arcy James, P.J. Griffith, Raul Aranas, Katie Thompson and more
Here Lies Love, Starring Jose Llana and Ruthie Ann Miles, Extends at The Public through July 28, 2013
Jeanne Sakata’s critically-acclaimed play Hold These Truths, starring 2013 Drama Desk Award Nominee Joel de la Fuente, closes the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival at Culture Project, 6/4, 6/10 and 6/11
Two-Time Tony Nominee André De Shields, Nehal Joshi, Akash Chopra and More Set for Mary Zimmerman helmed The Jungle Book at The Goodman, 6/21-8/4 and The Huntington, 9/7-10/6
Living Colour Vivid 25th Anniversary US Tour – Spring 2013
Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe Celebrate New CD, Convergence with Concerts in Washington D.C. on February 27 and in New York on March 5, 2013
André De Shields Returns to The Laurie Beechman Theatre with I Put A Spell on You, October 5 and 12
Two-Time Grammy Nominated Hiroshima Performs at Yoshi’s Oakland, August 17-19, 2012
H I R O S H I M A in Benefit Concert for Japan on 9/21 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in NY
Foremost American Taiko Artist, Kenny Endo, to perform in Tokyo on April 24 and April 30
Kenny Endo 35th Anniversary Concert Tour
Koto Oyako don CD Release Concert, w/Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto & Brian Mitsuhiro Wong, Numi Tea Garden, Oakland
Kino alu Sundays with George Kuo, Martin Pahinui and Aaron Mahi at Waikiki Beach Marriott
Multimedia: Living Colour in Concert at the Highline Ballroom Photos
Multimedia: Oumou Sangare, Will Calhoun at Central Park Summerstage
Multimedia: Asian Pacific American Month Celebration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Richard Bona & Lionel Loueke in SF Jazz Spring Season
On Ensemble, Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe in Taiko x2 at Cerritos Center
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins Set for Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click
here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. This summer, Lia will appear as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Penwah, July 30-August 1, 2013.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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