2010 / Innovative American taiko group to celebrate 10th anniversary at Ford Amphitheatre, July 10, 11


Totaling 100-cast-member, innovative American taiko group TAIKOPROJECT and its sister group will perform “Rhythmic Relation 2010.” (Photo courtesy of TAIKOPROJECT)

The award-winning TAIKOPROJECT presents an exhilarating performance of the dynamic art of American Taiko with the 100-cast-member production “Rhythmic Relations 2010,” at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood.

Joined by sister groups, Bombu Taiko, Kitsune Taiko & Southern California’s newest group, Loma Pacific Taiko, these ground-breaking artists will rock the Ford stage, for a third time with their enormous drums, nuanced collaborations and innovative musicianship, on July 10 and 11 at 8:00 p.m.

The TAIKOPROJECT, emerging leaders in the evolution of the taiko art form, continue to pave the way for the next generation of drummers in “Rhythmic Relations 2010,” with contemporary fusions of traditional Japanese taiko and cross-cultural music influences such as hip hop, rock, and world music.

Led by two of America’s top taiko artists, Artistic Directors Bryan Yamami and Masato Baba, the event will feature TAIKOPROJECT’s groundbreaking hip-hop anthem Expanding, and a number of new works blending traditional taiko with Zimbabwean marimba, the Japanese koto (harp), and the yokobue (bamboo flute).

“Rhythmic Relations 2010” will exhibit some of the most diverse and beautifully made taiko drums; made by Asano Taiko Inc (formed in 1609), which is the oldest and most prestigious drum maker in Japan.

Showcasing performances by drummers ranging from 7 years of age to 70, and unparalleled skill and technique, “Rhythmic Relations 2010” is a celebration of TAIKOPROJECT’s ten years of outstanding innovative artistic and commercial work.

In addition, TAIKOPROJECT will release their first CD at the performance, featuring studio tracks of some of the most exciting and innovative American taiko music ever to be recorded.

The TAIKOPROJECT is an ensemble of premiere taiko drummers dedicated to promoting and advancing the American art of taiko. Founded in 2000 in Los Angeles, the group was conceived by Bryan Yamami, with the idea of bringing together the best young taiko players in North America to create an innovative, theatrical production celebrating American taiko.

TAIKOPROJECT traveled on its first world tour in 2003 with the show TAIKOPROJECT: (re)generation, which seamlessly blended taiko with storytelling, music, hip hop choreography, multi-media and dance.

Since then, the group has performed across the U.S., Dubai, China, Japan, Greece, and received numerous awards including First Place at the 4th Annual Tokyo International Taiko Contest, becoming the first American taiko group to win the entire contest.

In 2005, the women of TAIKOPROJECT performed in Mitsubishi Motors’ National Commercial for the Eclipse sports car. TAIKOPROJECT was featured in David Mamet’s 2008 film “Redbelt,” and performed with John Legend and A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) at the 2009 Academy Awards telecast.

TAIKOPROJECT continues to travel the world and cross musical boundaries by collaborating with a diverse group of artists from an array of musical genres including klezmer clarinetist Leo Chelyapov, Vietnamese pop singer Bao Han, Chicano rock band Quetzal, hip hop artist Kanye West, internationally-acclaimed European DJ Tiesto, and the Kim Eung Hwa Korean Dance Academy.

In May, 2010, they were invited to perform with acclaimed rock band 30 Seconds to Mars at their sold-out concert at the famed Greek Theatre in L.A.

TaikoProject Fue

Taiko artist Bryan Yamami, left, and Masato Baba of TAIKOPROJECT also play fue, Japanese flute. (Photo courtesy of TAIKOPROJECT)

Bombu Taiko is a community-based taiko group founded in 2002 at the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple. Bombu Taiko is instructed by members of the TAIKOPROJECT. Named by Rinban Noriaki Ito after the “Bombu” of Buddhist philosophy, Bombu Taiko in its short lifespan has performed throughout Los Angeles at numerous events and gatherings, including the Nisei Week Festival, the L.A. Marathon, and gala events and dinners.

“Bombu” loosely translates as “ordinary people” or the “unenlightened masses,” and the joy of playing together is stressed in the group, as well as the Buddhist taiko philosophy developed by Rev. Masao Kodani and Kinnara Taiko, which emphasizes letting go of one’s ego and just having fun.

Kitsune Taiko was founded in 2002 at the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple along with Bombu Taiko and is named after the mysterious and mischievous fox (kitsune) of Japanese folklore. The 17 member ensemble consists of nine girls, who have claimed the “Shakko,” or red fox, and eight boys who have claimed “Genko,” the black fox as their mascot.

Since then, the group has become one of the premiere youth taiko ensembles in Southern California, and many of their alumni have graduated to performing in collegiate taiko groups.

Loma Pacific Taiko is the newest group to join the TAIKOPROJECT family, based at their new studio in Long Beach.  Composed of community members from throughout Southern California, the group is less than one year old and will be debuting one new song at “Rhythmic Relations 2010.”

Purchased before July 3 and 4, early buyer tickets are $35/$30. Full price tickets are $40/$35, $12 for students/children. For tickets, log on to www.FordTheatres.org or call the Ford Box Office at 323 461-3673 (GO 1-FORD).

The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood, CA 90068, just off the 101 Hollywood Freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and south of Universal Studios.