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.
Julia Misawa – Boulder Taiko Ensemble
Julia Misawa, the founder, art director and instructor of Boulder Taiko Hibiki. Julia Misawa began her Taiko studies when she was studying International Business, Graphic Design and Web Design at college. She has studied Japanese traditional Taiko for about ten years under the guidance of Taiko Master Seiichi Tanaka. It was Sensei Tanaka who first brought Taiko to the U.S. about 49 years ago when he started the San Francisco Taiko Dojo in San Francisco.
While studying with Sensei Tanaka, Julia assisted with children’s and adults’ classes and she also served as his assistant for the weekend open classes. Besides her own practice, she coached and directed a separate taiko group and also assisted workshop for mentally disabled children at the Napa Valley Children’s Hospital in Napa, California. As one of San Francisco Taiko’s pro-team members, Julia had the great experience of traveling and performing all over America. She was very impressed, and will never be able to forget the performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Other memorable performances include the Annual International Taiko Festival in Berkley, California, the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco, California, the Chinese New Year’s parade, and the Black Ships Festival in New-port Beach, Rhode Island, among others. Another unforgettable experience was that recording the DVD at a studio owned by world famous movie director George Lucas.
Boulder Taiko’s teaching method and essence are based upon the four basic elements, not only the skillful playing of the percussion insturment, taught at the San Francisco Taiko Dojo: Mind, Skill, Body, and Manner in the sprit of complete respect and unity among people. All four elements are essential and should be studied equally so that they all become single form. For beginning students, the basic grip, stance and movement are learned prior to practicing fundamental drills designed to learn basic drumming techniques. Each class starts with a routine of full body stretches and the use of voice is practiced throughout each class. One method unique to Sensei Tanaka’s teaching style is that “KUCHI-SHOKA”; students “sing” the words and rhythms without the music score so that the entire body, not just the brain, learns the rhythm.
Boulder Taiko Hibiki brings the art and discipline of Taiko to all people, regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation to promote a stronger, kinder, more compassionate and interconnected community. Last but not least, it includes the pure enjoyment of playing taiko from bottom of the heart.
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.