Contemporary Music for Taiko, Koto, Fue, and Japanese percussion

The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble features master drummer Kenny Endo on Taiko (Japanese drum) and Japanese percussion. Synthesizing traditional Japanese drumming techniques, world musical rhythms, and western jazz percussion styles, taiko master Kenny Endo is a leading force in contemporary taiko performance in the U.S. and Japan. The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble plays original compositions for taiko, koto (Japanese zither), fue (bamboo flutes), and other Japanese traditional instruments highlighting the new dimensions Endo is bringing to an old Japanese art.

Endo leads three ensembles under the name Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.  They are based in Honolulu, Tokyo, and the mainland U.S.A.
"Eternal Energy," a CD featuring the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble of Tokyo was released in the United States in 1995. The Ensemble features master drummer Kenny Endo on taiko and Japanese percussion; Yoshinori Nomi, one of the pioneers of Latin percussion in Japan and a former member of the Tokyo Cuban Boys on Latin percussion and taiko; master of the traditional lion dance and Japanese festival music of old Tokyo, Kyosuke Suzuki, on bamboo flutes, taiko and lion dance; and Hideaki Kuribayashi, innovative 17-string bass kotoist (Japanese zither).

Endo has two other CDs containing all original compositions.  Recorded live in Tokyo, they are "Hibiki" (Resonance) (1998) and "Jugoya" (Crystal Clear Moon) (2000).  "Hibiki" features the Tokyo Ensemble with special guests including Japanese noh theatre musician and classical Japanese drummer Tosha Kiyonari.  "Jugoya" features the Tokyo Ensemble and special guests HIros Nakagawa on bansuri (traditional bamboo flute of India); vibraphone virtuoso Hitoshi Hamada; and Endo's Honolulu based dynamic taiko drummers.

The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble of Tokyo made its U.S. debut concert/lecture/demonstration tour in Hawaii in spring 1996, receiving standing ovations by sold-out crowds at every concert.

About Kenny Endo

Born and raised in Los Angeles, KENNY ENDO began early training in western drums and percussion for performance with jazz, fusion, and classical artists. He discovered his roots through the Japanese taiko and in 1975 began working first with Kinnara Taiko of Los Angeles and then with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In 1980, he went to Japan to further his study of taiko drumming for ten years. He has studied and performed with masters in the Sukeroku, Suwa, Gojinjo, and Chichibu styles of group drumming. Endo is the first non-Japanese national to ever receive a 'natori' (stage name) in Hogaku Hayashi (Japanese classical drumming). He is known as MOCHIZUKI TAJIRO in the classical Hogaku world. Endo also performs the Wakayama style of Edo Bayashi (festival music of Edo). Endo has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Japan as well as internationally, including such countries as the U.S.S.R., England, France, Germany, Belgium, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Canada, and Australia. Working with musicians in various genre, he has paved new directions in using the traditional taiko, bringing a refreshing and creative approach to music through his background in western, ethnic, and traditional Japanese drumming.

Find all the latest on Kenny Endo here.

Kenny Endo Receives HSFCA's Individual Artist Award
Taiko Center of the Pacific Artistic Director, Kenny Endo, received the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Individual Artist Award on October 22, 2002.  It is the State's highest award recognizing exceptional talent, excellence, and achievement in the visual and performing arts.  The awards ceremony took place in Governor Ben Cayetano's office with a reception immediately following in Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono's office.  He also received special recognition from U.S. House of Representative Neil Abercrombie and Congressman Daniel Akaka in separate certificates. More information on the program is available from the HSFCA Website. Also see a story in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Kenny Endo's taiko drums are provided by Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten of Tokyo, Japan.

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