Hey, Hi and Hello TAIKOPROJECT blog followers!

On July 11, 2015 we had a small cast head up to Sacramento for the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Fundraiser Dinner.  The cast consisted of Maz, Courtney, Jen, Liz, Keiko, Doug, Kelvin and Blaine.  This performance was a lot of fun because we all got the chance to challenge ourselves and perform new parts.  A special thanks goes out to my Uncle Steve who always asks us to perform and it is nice to get the chance to perform for my extended family who lives in Sacramento.  Two years ago, TAIKOPROJECT was invited to perform for the same event and it was very nostalgic to return with some of the cast that came up last time too.  Fun Fact: Last time we performed in Sacramento for the SASF, our cast included all five of the newest trainees at the time! They grow up so fast! Haha!  There are some awesome photos taken from a local Sacramento Magazine be sure to check them out here! http://www.sacmag.com/Snapshots/June-2015/Sacramento-Asian-Sports-Foundations-Annual-Benefit-Dinner-Show/

Here is a vlog from the show and we hope you enjoy it!

 

All summer, TAIKOPROJECT has been playing at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Things are wrapping up soon, but we’ve been playing here every day for the last two months or so.

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Audiences have been wonderful and quite varied.  It’s been a challenge tailoring our seat each day to the people who come to see us and the members we have playing that day.

Other acts were on stage with us as well, including the “Safari Acrobats” and the “Bollywood Superstars”.

 

 

 

 

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This year I particularly appreciated the upgrade to the stage.  We had a lot more room, and lots of traction for challenging pieces like Many Sides.

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Thank you to the City of Escondido for being our summer home, we’ll see you again soon.

 

-Blaine

 

Hi y’all!  Back in June, we did a back to back week performance in Anaheim (see Doug’s post on the first event).  The second gig was for the opening of the night festivities of the Enagic Global Convention and included Bryan, Brian, Maz,  Jenny, Blaine, and very special guest BRUNO! (Byron Yamada).  It felt just like old times, and we were very happy to have him join us for this event.   And they certainly pulled out all the stops for this conference complete with laser beams and a fog machine!

Love the lasers! :)

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Having a little fun with the fog machine!  Jenny and I thought we could look like rock stars emerging from the fog.  More like… ghosts in a scary movie!

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Chilling/tech-ing for the event.  Had to get the laser show going before we could run our part. :)

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Post-gig fireworks!  No performance should be complete without them!  includes sounds effects (unfortunately)=P

Thanks for reading!

…Courtney

 

Another year, another Rhythmic Relations… After months of preparation and hard work Taikoproject, Bombu, and Kitsune came together for our big annual showcase, but this year things were a bit different!

First of all, because of renovations at our usual venue (the Ford Theater), we ventured into new territory: the Freud Playhouse at UCLA. The venue was great, with a large stage and ample backstage area to accommodate all the moving parts that come together for a show like this.

Second, to accommodate all our fans wanting to come and watch, this year we played two whole shows! With our first show in the early afternoon this makes for a long day, but many hands make light work and the whole troupe was able to carry full-blown energy right through to the last hit.

kelvin_1Taikoproject members getting ready for the show… Kelvin, what are you doing in the women’s changing room?!

andrew_1Everyone has their own pre-show rituals, no matter how unusual… Who is that masked man?

before_1The calm before the storm: stage spiked, sound checked, drums set for top of show!

Both shows featured some fantastic performances from Bombu and Kitsune. I overheard numerous comments about how they are growing to become pretty phenomenal performers! Taikoproject, for our part, took the opportunity to showcase some new material from our just-released CD: Our Many Sides.

After a great first show, the cast had a little down time to recharge and prepare for the evening run-through.

sleeping_brianSleepy Brian… grab a couple minutes of shut-eye whenever you can!

foodAn amazing spread of food by the Kitsune parents kept us fueled throughout the day… thank you so much!

This was the last Rhythmic Relations for long-time Taikoproject family member Claire Lee. She’s off to university, and the exciting adventure of collegiate taiko–best of luck!

A big thank-you to the whole tech crew, sound designer Glenn, lighting designer Scott, and all the other volunteers that helped this year’s show go off without a hitch. Great job to all the performers, and thank you to everyone who came out to watch us. See you again next year!

 

From June 15-17, we had our first creative residency with Chieko Kojima, Kodo’s principal dancer, and whom many would consider the foremost female taiko drummer in the world. Last summer, in 2014, we had the opportunity to present a short collaboration with Chieko at our Taiko Nation concerts, and after that, Chieko sent word to us that she was interested in working further with us, and we couldn’t say no to that!

Opening Aisatsu with Chieko

Opening Aisatsu with Chieko

We spent three days reshaping a show based on the “Dojoji” legend to fit with TP’s repertoire and artists. One of the primary changes from other versions of this show that she has done with other taiko groups is that Yumi, TP’s principal dancer/choreographer, will be playing a key character role in the production alongside Chieko.

Chieko and Yumi start fan work

Chieko and Yumi start fan work

Chieko recently completed a year-long photo book project where she evoked scenes of the story of Kiyohime throughout the seasons and throughout Sado Island. The book is quite stunning and beautiful.

Chieko shows us her new Kiyohime photo book

Chieko shows us her new Kiyohime photo book

The show will feature several TP songs adapted for the story, as well as new musical works. Of course, Chieko will perform many of her signature dances, including Hana Hachijo, and a dance with an umbrella which (in rehearsal) was breathtaking. I will never look at an umbrella quite the same way!

Chieko explains a little about Hana Hachijo

Chieko explains a little about Hana Hachijo

And I was happy to host Chieko at our house, where Amelia immediately took to “Aunty Chieko.” Also, Chieko was fascinated by Amelia’s play kitchen.

Chieko is fascinated by Amelia's play kitchen

Chieko is fascinated by Amelia’s play kitchen

All in all, it was a successful residency, and we are super-excited about continuing to collaborate with Chieko and to present the completed work next October, 2016! Stay tuned for more updates!

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