The tracks of “Island Breeze” feature a trio of world class musicians, each masters of their own instruments, who have come together to create some new and beautiful music. Award winning Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist Jeff Peterson and shakuhachi master Riley Lee have been working together for many years. In 2012, they joined forces with taiko master Kenny Endo during a week-long residency in which each artist conducted intensive workshops. The trio put together a program of refreshing music, like an “island breeze” and presented it in concert at the University of Hawai‘i’s Orvis Auditorium. Their strong ties to Hawaii and its natural beauty is brilliantly reflected in twelve original songs that allow each performer to shine.
Produced and arranged by Jeff Peterson, Riley Lee, and Kenny Endo
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jules Washington at Blue Planet Sound
Musical Clips may be viewed at:
KENNY ENDO is one of the world’s leading artists in contemporary percussion and rhythm. He is the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to pave new paths in this Japanese style drumming even after thirty-five years of experience. A performer, composer, and teacher with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms from around the world into original melodies and improvisation.
Originally trained as a jazz musician in the West Coast Asian American cultural renaissance of the 1970s, Endo began his taiko career with L.A.’s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko, and then with the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the first kumi daiko group outside of Japan. In 1980 he embarked on a decade-long odyssey to his ancestral Japan, studying and performing with masters of ancient classical drumming, traditional Tokyo festival music, and ensemble drumming. Endo has the honor of being the first non-Japanese national to have received a natori (stage name and masters degree) in hogaku hayashi (classical drumming). In the hogaku world, Endo is known as Mochizuki Tajiro. He was a professional member of the famed
O Edo Sukeroku Taiko, has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii, and formed the Taiko Center of the Pacific in 1994 with his wife, Chizuko.
In the greater musical world “Kenny Endo” has become synonymous with “taiko.” He is arguably one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between classical Japanese style and his own neo-classical, globally-inspired variety. Among his many distinctions are an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, an artist residency at the Lincoln Center Institute in New York, his own “Kenny Endo Day” proclaimed by the Mayor of Honolulu, and certificates of honor from the House and Senate of the State of Hawaii and Honolulu City Council.
Endo has recorded five CDs of original taiko compositions, and was a featured artist on the PBS special “Spirit of Taiko.” He performed for Michael Jackson and Prince as well as Princess Diana and Prince Charles. He opened for The Who, performed a duet with singer Bobby McFerrin, and is featured on the soundtracks for Kayo Hatta’s film “Picture Bride” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” He was also recorded in motion capture suit for James Cameron’s “Avatar.”
Endo’s taiko skills have taken him to the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of American History, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Theatre de Champs-Elysee in Paris, the Kabukiza and National Theater in Japan. He has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony and Tokyo Symphony, traveling across Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, the former Soviet Union, Australia, and the Americas in his effort to share taiko with the world.
Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most versatile musicians, Jeff Peterson is at the heart of the Hawaiian music scene today. His passion for the guitar has allowed him to shine as a solo artist and has given him the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of artists from Hawaii, across the US, and abroad. His focus on Slack Key guitar, classical, and jazz music has allowed him to develop a unique and transcendent voice on the guitar while being deeply rooted in the traditions of his Hawaiian heritage. He has contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and has been honored with three Na Hōkū Hanohano Awards in Hawaii. His latest solo CD “Maui on My Mind,” was recognized as the Slack Key Album of the Year in 2010. His latest release features his songwriting, performing, and producing on Amy Hanaiali`i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii. The groundbreaking recording features a collaboration between Jeff, Amy Hanaiali`i, Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Lim, and Chino Montero.
Five of his songs including Hawaiian Skies were featured in the film The Descendants starring George Clooney.
Riley Lee began playing shakuhachi (bamboo flute) in Japan in 1971, studying with Chikuho Sakai until 1980, and has been a student of Katsuya Yokoyama since 1984. He was given the rank of Dai Shihan (grand master) in 1980. Riley has a BA and MA in music from the University of Hawaii and received his PhD degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Sydney. He has published scholarly articles and book reviews in leading national and international musicology journals. He has been instrumental in creating a professional presence of traditional Japanese music in Australia and has made over fifty commercially released recordings since 1980. Riley was the first non-Japanese to play taiko professionally, touring internationally with Ondekoza (now called Kodo). In 1995, he co-founded with Ian Cleworth, Australia’s dynamic Japanese festival drum group, TaikOz which has since become one of Australia’s premier performance groups, acclaimed both at home and in Japan.
Dan Kwong’s WHAT? NO PING-PONG BALLS? with Kenny Endo at Interact Theatre Company as part of 2014 National Asian American Theater Festival and Conference
Taiko Master Kenny Endo and Hiromitsu Agatsuma on Shamisen at Japan Society on June 5, 2013
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
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
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
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On Ensemble, Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe in Taiko x2 at Cerritos Center
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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