Makoto Yamamoto – Osuwa Daiko
The internationally renowned Makoto Yamamoto is the lineage holder and the grandson of Grand Master Oguchi Daihachi, founder of Osuwa Daiko, of Suwa Taisha Shrine in Nagano, Japan. He studied drums from Oguchi Daihachi and Mikio Yamamoto’s teachers, continuing their arts. He has been practicing and performing from the age of two and a half years of age. Born and raised while playing domestically and abroad, he also performed for the Japanese movie “Heaven and Earth” and NHK historical drama series “Nobunaga”. For the last 32 years, Makoto Yamamoto has continued the tradition of taiko performance at Osuwa Taisha Shrine on New Year’s Day and for the Okubo Festival. In addition to playing solo, he has also teamed up on more orchestral pieces with Mr. Kitaro (on the synthesizer), Ji Burghit (playing the Japanese Koto), Minakawa Koichi (playing the Indonesian Gamelan), and others. Further, since 2009 he has performed live at the “Waon Kyome” music festival which celebrates the possibility to merge different musical traditions – collaborating with a diverse set of artists playing flute, shakuhachi, koto, and piano; and in a variety of styles such as gagaku, tap-dance, tango, and african rhythms. Currently he is involved in the crafting of taiko drums, as well as teaching in the Tokyo area, including to experts who themselves teachers in Tokyo.
One World Taiko
One World Taiko is a Japanese drum ensemble that captivates audiences with its spirited drumming that blends traditional, jazz and world music into heart pounding beats. The group seeks to bring people together, in the moment, with the sound of their drums. After being in Seattle, WA for 13 years and touring the United States for 3 years, the group is now based in Denver, CO.
One World Taiko has performed at numerous concerts, festivals, corporate events, schools and colleges throughout the U.S., including 3 recent national 9 month tours of the U.S. for the Bureau of Lectures and Concert Artists. They were full-time resident taiko drummers for four years at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center’s Japan Pavilion in Orlando, Florida. Their last international trip took them on a 5 week performance engagement at the Global Village in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Gary Tsujimoto – One World Taiko
Gary Tsujimoto is the artistic director, composer and a performer for One World Taiko which he co-founded with Nancy Ozaki in 1990 in San Francisco, CA. Gary is a self taught taiko player who has performed for over 30 years after learning the basics of taiko for one year from Sensei Seiichi Tanaka of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. Gary started his taiko career with San Jose Taiko, eventually becoming their artistic director and composing some of their signature songs. His interest in jazz and world music inspired his taiko compositions as he added these musical elements to his repertoire in an effort to broaden the scope of traditional taiko making it appeal to wider audiences. He composed a taiko piece entitled “One World” while with San Jose Taiko which was inspired by the way taiko connected to the diverse audiences that came to see a performance. This song later became the name for his current group and the inspiration for their taiko playing today.
Makoto Yamamoto – One World Taiko
Nancy Ozaki has performed on the taiko for over 30 years. She started with Denver Taiko and also performed with San Jose Taiko. While performing with Denver Taiko, Nancy was recruited to join the famous Japanese professional taiko group Ondekoza for a 7 month tour of the U.S., Europe and Japan. She was also a teaching artist in Washington States Art Commission’s Artist in Residence Program for several years.
Julia Misawa – Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Julia Misawa studied Japanese traditional Taiko for about ten years under the guidance of Master Seiichi Tanaka, who established the first and longest-running taiko group in the U.S. 50 years ago, the San Francisco Taiko Dojo (SFTD, est. 1968). As a member of SFTD’s pro-team, Misawa traveled and performed all over America included in the many places she has played are: Carnegie Hall in New York City, annual International Taiko Festival in Berkeley, California, the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco, California, and the Black Ships Festival in Newport Beach, Rhode Island.
After moving to Boulder, Misawa founded the group Boulder Taiko Hibiki in 2006, a citizen taiko group open to all ages, where students study the taiko based on the practice that Julia learned from the SFTD, with a focus on the four values, mind, skill, body and manner. Boulder Taiko Hibiki has been active in the local music and cultural communities, performing at a wide range of public events and schools throughout the Denver Boulder metro area and beyond.
In June of 2010, Misawa produced the first statewide taiko event in Colorado, Taiko Summit Colorado 2010, gathering the five performing taiko groups in Colorado for a sold out concert at the Boulder Theater (800+ seats), headlined by SFTD’s Master Tanaka himself and other invited guests, both performing and presenting workshops in the following days.
The Taiko Summit Colorado series has continued to the present, most recently highlighted by concerts in Macky Auditorium, Unity of Boulder, and at the Flagstaff Sunrise Amphitheater in June, 2017. Executive Producer Misawa brought two of the top touring groups from Japan for this event, Oedo Sukeroku Daiko from Tokyo and Gonna (taiko and marimba ensemble) from Nagoya.
The 2017 Summit also featured the debut of Misawa’s professional performing group, the Boulder Taiko Ensemble, which pushes new boundaries in the ever-expanding world of taiko performance, adding western drums (Joe Diamo), guitar and voice (Souichi Nakamura), shakuhachi flute (David Kansuke Wheeler) and violin (Anthony Salvo) to the traditional taiko mix. Original works by composer Story Nack and premiered by the BTE are already garnering rave reviews.
Souichi Nakamura (Story Nack)- Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Souichi Nakamura also known as Story or Story Nack is a songwriter and producer of World Music, AOR, Jazz Fusion, etc. and also has been performing as a singer, guitarist, and or drummer since 1980. In the early years in his career, he performed as a vocalist and or a guitarist with his band at Japan’s top-notch clubs with live music in the 80’s including Shinjuku Ruido and Egg-man. Then, he also performed at nationwide major competitive music festivals and auditions in Japan with his band or solo as a finalist or a winner. 2003 -2005, he toured in Japan as a member of Akemi Iwase and Tokyo Tribe with a distribution contract with a Japanese label, Columbia Music Entertainment (Japan Columbia), and performed at nationwide key TV network music shows, many local TV and Radio programs in major cities all over Japan. He continues to create music in many different genres and performs at clubs, events, etc. He has been a committee member of Denver Kohaku Singing Competition, one of the largest Japanese events in Denver.
With his expertise not only in music but also in international communication and information technologies along with his education in law and corporate accounting, he has been also a bilingual strategic international business developer working for governors and mayors of local governments, senior executives of many global organizations in telecommunication, media, entertainment, healthcare, sporting goods and apparel, etc. both in Japan and the US.
Anthony Salvo – Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Anthony has been fortunate to spend the last thirty years as a professional musician. He began studying violin at the age of 6, led his youth orchestra, and spent summers at Tanglewood music camp. He completed his college studies at New England Conservatory and Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Finding that he did not want to pursue the path of a concert violinist, he spent his 20’s touring and performing in several bands with Afro-Cuban and Latin roots. In his 30’s, he established a regular teaching practice and expanded his exploration of the violin in history and world music including Klezmer & Indian Carnatic forms. He continued to tour and perform and was also in high demand as a studio musician recording for several hundred musicians, filmmakers, theater groups, and others looking for someone to express their vision of the perfect violin part for their project.
His 40’s were a time of clarifying his own vision. He went back to his roots in some ways to co-found the Free Range String Quartet; an completely improvisational ensemble. He also founded the gypsy jazz group Sacrebleu based on his new found love of this musical style. He studied with violin pedagogues Darol Anger and Paul Anastasio as he explored this genre. He has a full teaching studio in the Suzuki tradition and gained certification for his teaching through one of the founding luminaries of this tradition in America, Bill Starr. He also spent 5 years as band director for two private Waldorf schools in Boulder, CO. He composed, produced & recorded his first solo album, Finding Sanctuary, inspired by the more internal experience of music and his work with renown pedagogue, Paul Oertel.
Anthony continues to study, practice and play as he evolves as a teacher and musician. He regularly performs with the Denver based gypsy jazz ensemble, Gypsy Swing Revue and was featured on a recent tour of European jazz great, Joscho Stephan. He is currently working on several collaborative jazz projects and building material for his next album.
Joe Diamo – Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Joe Diamo is a topflight musician who has played in the U.S. and abroad for over 40 years. A virtuoso pianist and drummer. Joe has extensive experience as a solo artist in addition to leading (and as a member of), many musical ensembles. As a solo artist Joe’s piano and vocal repertoire covers a wide spectrum including Jazz, Swing, Classic Rock, Boogie Woogie/Blues, Ragtime, “Pop”, some ethnic styles….He is also open to requests. He also adds drums to solo performances , if desired, and has a fine voice. Joe shapes his performances to the perceived needs of the audience and prefers to interact with the audience even in a partially educational way if appropriate.
Joe has also been playing for over 30 years in Colorado as a solo and ensemble player and has made his living exclusively as a performing musician and music teacher for more then 22 years. Very at home and personable in front of an audience there’s nothing he enjoys more then sharing his music with others and watching them smile. A partial list of venues and musicians Joe has played and/ or recorded with are: Macky Auditorium (5 years with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra) Denver Performing Arts Center, Dazzle Jazz Club (on going) with Legendary Jazz Musician “Joe Bonner and Current Events Band” Numerous Jazz /blues/rock venues in Denver metro as soloist and with many of Colorado’s finest musicians, Almost every Retirement home in Denver metro (ongoing), weddings/Bar Mitvahs / holiday events, leader of “The Joe Diamo Combo” and “The Joe Diamo Big Band” five years (ongoing) featured soloist with “Boulder Taiko Hibiki” …. Joe hopes to have the honor of playing at the event.
Charles Parker Mertens – Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Charles Parker Mertens is a multi-genre bassist, cellist, and producer. He has performed with Thievery Corporation, Les Nubians, and Cyril Neville and can be seen playing with Swing Fiddle Champion Katie Glassman, as well as Tony Furtado, Fox St. Allstars, Analog Son, and many, many more. Charles loves to try and be authentic and aware of cultural nuance in any style that he is playing.