Catching up with Kenny Endo, taiko drummer
Videography by Mr. Tracy Arakaki of Tracy Arakaki Productions
Honolulu musician Kenny Endo is set for a busy start to 2013. He has a new dance performance scheduled at the university.
Describes Endo: “This February for the first two weekends, the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble is going to collaborate with the U.H. Dance Department. It’s an exciting project. We’re premiering two new pieces. One by myself, one by Derek Nakamoto who is a keyboard player. It’ll involve not just taiko but a lot of melodic instruments as well and dancers. We’re very excited about this work.
We’re kind of blurring the lines between accompaniment and dancers in that we’re taking six of our ensemble members and six U.H. dancers and each holding an uchiwa daiko – a fan drum- and they’re doing movement.
It’s just called “Taiko Drum and Dance.” This particular piece is called Midnight Moon because it involves 12 people and it’s the 12th hour in the evening. [It is] just to open up the possibilities of seeing taiko outside its traditional context.” This show performs February 8, 9, 15, 16 at 8 p.m.; February 17 at 2 p.m. UHM student buy-one-get-one-free night is February 8. Ticket prices $13 - 24; UHM students with valid ID $5. hawaii.edu/kennedy
Endo is also releasing a new music album. He describes it as “a duet CD with myself and Kaoru Watanabe called Convergence. We recorded it last year and it’s finally coming out, hopefully in January or February.
It’s a combination of traditional pieces and improvisations as well as original works by Kaoru and myself. It’s like taiko stripped down because there’s only two of us. In many cases it’s just one taiko and one bamboo flute playing. It’s very different [from his previous works] because Kaoru and I have a background in traditional music in taiko, and western improvisational music as well.
Two new ways to enjoy a traditional Japanese art!