Taiko is about community. Taiko, Japanese drumming transcends all cultures and it is universal and anyone can do it. Participants from different ethnic backgrounds will work with each other to create music and learn to be open to the cultural traditions of others.
en Taiko was established in 2007. en Taiko played and practiced on old garbage bins. At first, en Taiko began as a means of teaching kids at schools, where music class was no longer offered. Drastic public school budget cuts continue to deprive students of the demonstrated benefits of formal music education. The practice and performances by en Taiko help fill this gap, by providing students with discipline, camaraderie, listening skills, and structure–all essential components of Japanese taiko.
Over the years, the quality of taiko has been getting better and better. The en Taiko students are ready for increased responsibility and more challenging songs. As a performance group, en Taiko plans to expand its repetoir and grow its membership.
The “en” in “en Taiko” is probably best translated as “happenstance,” as in the lucky bits of circumstance that bring people together. Even in ancient Japan, Taiko was not merely a musical instrument. Taiko played a vital role in strengthening community, whether in the schools, temples, or throughout the townships. Similarly, en Taiko aspires to create opportunity for strengthening and expanding community.
In April 2012, en Taiko became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Status number: 27- 2180026
The en Taiko performance group is a youthful, high-energy experience that fosters community. Taiko drumming strengthens individuality and creativity within the interplay of a group dynamic. The group performs at cultural events and music festivals throughout the city of Portland, carrying on a centuries' old musical tradition from feudal Japan.
What is the mission?
To foster a community where participants from various ethnic backgrounds work together to create music while learning the cultural traditions of others.
The word, “Taiko” in Japanese literally means great or wide drum. It refers most commonly to a distinctive form of drumming that has its roots in ancient Japanese culture. But Taiko also describes the art form of modern Japanese drum ensembles, as well as the physical drums used by these groups.
Artistic Director Kazuyo Ito
Kazuyo Ito, Artistic Director of en Taiko, is teaching the art of Japanese drumming at Richmond Elementary, Pacific University, Portland Community College and other schools and facilities around Portland, Oregon.
Kazuyo was trained by Taiko masters Takemasa Ishikura in Florida and Jyotaro Yoshimura in Japan. Before starting en Taiko in 2007, she performed with Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble in California and Matsuriza at Walt Disney World for many years.
en Taiko Collaboration Artist Eric Schopmeyer
Eric Schopmeyer has been teaching music in Portland Public Schools for 16 years. He currently teaches at Buckman Elementary. From 2000-2011 he headed the Marysville Marimba band. He has published two volumes of original works for student marimba ensemble. He composed over 5 pieces with en Taiko with the composition which is Japanese Taiko with Zimbabwean-style marimba.
en Taiko Collaboration Artist Mitsuki Dazai
A graduate of Japan’s renowned Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, Mitsuki is studied in contemporary koto and has performed professionally throughout the world. In 2015, she released her 1st CD “Shanti Samsara”. Mitsuki also leads and instructs a koto ensemble group, Oregon Koto-Kai. She enjoys introducing her beautiful koto music to the diverse cultures of the world.