Taiko group On Ensemble will share a program on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. with musicians Kaoru Watanabe and Sumie Kaneko as part of the inaugural Aratani World Series of global music and dance.
The series celebrates the songs, sounds, and dance of seven ensembles from Africa, India, Hawaii, Philippines, Japan, Bulgaria, Latin America, Central Java, Brazil, New York, and Los Angeles, who are carrying forth and transforming their rich cultural traditions.
Founded by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato (Maz) Baba, On Ensemble has forged a new path for taiko by combining their study and deep appreciation of Japanese traditional music, then infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with myriad musical influences, ranging from rock and electronica to odd-meter grooves, soaring melodies, and Central Asian overtone singing.
Watanabe, North America’s most accomplished shinobue virtuoso, masterfully incorporates jazz melodies and improvisation with Japanese folk and classical traditions. Kaneko blends her koto and shamisen training with a background in jazz vocal performance.
Tickets for the performance at the Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, are $25/$35; group discounts available. Call (213) 680-3700 or visit www.festivalofsacredmusic.org.
On the Web: