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OBON CLASSICS Special Lecture & Performance

Time & Location

August 15, 5pm EDT


The Japan Foundation will present a special lecture with Isaku Kageyama, Sumie Kaneko, and David Wells on some of the traditional Japanese musical instruments used for the Bon Odori, a summertime folk dance festival which is the highlight of a centuries-old Buddhist custom called Obon. This lecture will be focusing on the history of Japanese music, and will also cover the histories of taiko, shamisen, koto, and fue. There will be demonstrations of traditional performances by the guest artists, and the various instruments will be played together at the end to showcase how they sound together to create Obon festival music.

Live commentary will be enabled on the YouTube stream, so guests can participate in the Q&A session during the session.


Isaku Kageyama:

Isaku Kageyama is a taiko performer and educator working with Los Angeles Taiko Institute and Asano Taiko US UnitOne. His resume includes performances on networks such as NBC and VH1, venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and tours of across the world. Formerly a principal drummer of premiere ensemble Amanojaku, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the Berklee College of Music and a Master of Arts from Longy School of Music of Bard College. He is also a two-time National Odaiko (large drum) Champion, becoming the youngest person to win highest honors at the Mt. Fuji Odaiko Contest in 2000, and Hokkaido in 2003.

Sumie Kaneko:

Sumie Kaneko creates music that spans a millennium. A master in the traditional repertoire of these ancient instruments, she has also pioneered their use in jazz and experimental music, through solo and group performances worldwide. She has collaborated with such artists as Pulitzer Winner Paula Vogel, Gamelan Galak Tika’s Evan Zyporyn, RONIN’s Nik Bärtsch, taiko artist Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, and gidayu-shamisen virtuoso Yumiko Tanaka. She has performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Blue Note NY, TED talk, Regattabar, Getty Center, Boston Ballet, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

David Wells:

David Wells began his musical journey as a clarinet player under the guidance of his father, a professional jazz musician. In 2003, he discovered Stanford Taiko, performing internationally with the group and eventually serving as one of the group’s Artistic Directors. Since then, David has trained extensively and has performed with such groups as the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble, TAIKOPROJECT, Prota, On Ensemble, and Unit Souzou. He is an instructor at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute and an avid composer, having created work for all of the ensembles with which he has performed in addition to several commissioned works.

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