4th ETC Workshop Leaders

Workshop Leaders for 4th European Taiko Conference, Hamburg, 21-24 February 2019

Click here for more information about 4th European Taiko Conference.

PJ Hirabayashi

PJ Hirabayashi, is Artistic Director Emeritus of San Jose Taiko, founded in San Jose Japantown in 1973 with her husband, Roy Hirabayashi, and colleagues. She is a taiko artist/teacher, composer/choreographer, collaborator, mentor, activator/activist, holistic innovator, community-builder, and energy practitioner.
PJ and Roy received the National Endowment of the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2011, the USA’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Together, they have been awarded for their work and impact within communities: Silicon Valley Creates Legacy Laureate, San Jose Arts Commission Cornerstone of the Arts, Bunka Hall of Fame, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Master Program. PJ’s current project is “TaikoPeace”, an extension of San Jose Taiko’s 4 Principles, her Peace Ambassadorship with the Shift Network’s Summer of Peace, and Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion. “TaikoPeace” is a creative initiative that inspires personal, social, and global change through the art of taiko.
Click here for an interview given by PJ and Roy Hirabayashi at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Click here for a DiscoverNikkei interview with PJ talking about the experience of taking Japanese American taiko to Japan in 1987.

Shogo Yoshii

Shogo Yoshii was born in Tokyo, and grew up in Yokohama Japan. As a musician and composer, he works with Japanese folk music, which he has travelled the length and breadth of Japan to study and collect.
From 2003-2013, he was a member of Kodo, the world-famous taiko performing arts ensemble. On stage, he is featured on taiko drums, bamboo flute, kokyu (Japanese violin),metallic percussion, and dance.
Today, his original compositions are used in many contemporary arts, not only for stage performance but also TV documentaries.


Jonathan Kirby

Jonathan Kirby creates and performs new taiko that is true to his cultural roots and consistent with his approach to the world at large. As the founder and Artistic Director of Kagemusha Taiko he has spent the last 20 years developing a unique voice within the art form. Repertoire such as Kindred Spirit reflects Jonathan’s background in rock’n’roll, and the poignant yet joyful trilogy A Good Death explores novel compositional structures and rhythmic motifs.
Kagemusha Taiko Group has been recognized and praised within the greater taiko world for its unique and influential voice in the art form and has performed to critical acclaim in Europe, the United States and Japan. For Jonathan, taiko is not “art for art’s sake”, nor is it simply entertainment. He and his group have taken taiko into a wide range of social and educational situations, showing how it can have a significantly beneficial effect on people’s lives.
Jonathan is the author of The Way of the Drum – Taiko without Borders as well as a range of teaching books and videos.


Fumi Tanakadate

Fumi Tanakadate is a taiko artist and pianist based in New York, who has a unique combination of expertise in European Classical music and a background in traditional folk dance and music from Japan. After studying extensively with Kaoru Watanabe, Fumi now performs frequently with Watanabe, often in a duo setting where she plays taiko and piano and sings, sometimes doing all at once. has performed at such venues as Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, Pioneer Works, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, the Rubin Museum of Art, Super Deluxe in Tokyo and at PASIC, Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Fumi has collaborated with Shane Shanahan of the Silkroad Ensemble, Brooklyn Raga Massive, Chieko Kojima and Yuta Sumiyoshi of KODO, Alicia Hall Moran, Satoshi Takeishi and Kiyohiko Semba.
Fumi also serves as the primary instructor at Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center, teaching classes and giving educational workshops at local schools and colleges.
As a classical pianist, Fumi has performed in Japan, USA, Austria, and Spain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from Manhattan School of Music.

Taiko Drills Before Breakfast

For those who simply can’t get enough taiko playing, the European Taiko Conference offers early-morning taiko drills. This year, the drills will be led by
Martin Doyle and Shonagh Walker:

Martin has been drumming for 25 years, first as a kit drummer in various rock and metal bands and has been playing Taiko for the last eight years. He discovered taiko whilst undertaking an Honours Degree in Popular Music Performance at Perth UHI. After graduating University with First Class Honours, he toured and performed around the UK and abroad for the next five years as part of a professional Taiko ensemble. Martin is currently the lead instructor, composer, and artistic director of Tsuchigumo Daiko, a group he co-founded in February 2016 with his partner Shonagh to set about exploring possibilities within taiko, and provide an outlet to express his love of music, drumming, rhythm, martial arts, and physical fitness.
Shonagh has been playing Taiko for over 15 years. She joined a local taiko group and was a member for 11 years, during which time she rose to become a lead player, instructor, and workshop leader within the group’s professional ensemble. Amidst a hectic Taiko-playing schedule, Shonagh was awarded her PhD in Pharmaceutics from Strathclyde University in 2013. She now balances her love of performing and teaching taiko with her professional life as a scientist.


See also: European Taiko Conference Homepage; 1st European Taiko Conference; 2nd European Taiko Conference; 3rd European Taiko Conference. 4th European Taiko Conference.