Taiko Group, East L.A. Band to Collaborate

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TaikoProject and Quetzal will combine their talents. (Photo by Kim Nakashima)

TaikoProject and Quetzal will combine their talents. (Photo by Kim Nakashima)

TaikoProject and Quetzal will perform “Concrete Saplings” on Friday, July 8, at 8 p.m. at Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood.

The 2016 season kicks off with a special collaboration between internationally acclaimed Japanese drumming group TaikoProject and Grammy Award-winning Chicano rock band Quetzal. Blending powerful taiko drumming with soulful son jarocho, the two bands explore common musical ground to create a new sound that is quintessentially L.A.

TaikoProject (www.taikoproject.com) was founded in 2000 in Los Angeles by a group of young, emerging taiko drummers. They were seeking to create a truly American style of taiko, blending traditional forms in which they were raised, with an innovative and fresh approach to the Japanese drum.

TaikoProject first made waves when they became the first American taiko group to win the prestigious Tokyo International Taiko Contest in 2005, besting all of the Japanese groups in the competition. That year, they were cast in a Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial, the first and still only national advertising campaign to prominently feature taiko.

Since then, the group has performed on the 2009 Academy Awards, the 2011 Grammy Awards, NBC’s “The Voice,” Syfy’s “Face/Off,” and “The X-Factor,” and were honored with the prestigious Visionary Award from East West Players. In 2013, TaikoProject was featured in rock band 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Up in the Air” music video and appeared with the band on “Conan” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and at the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

Quetzal (http://artivistentertainment.com/quetzal/), now celebrating its 20-year anniversary, is the collaborative project of Quetzal Flores (guitar), Martha González (lead vocals, percussion), Tylana Enomoto (violin), Juan Pérez (bass), Peter Jacobson (cello), and Alberto Lopez (percussion). The musical ensemble is influenced by an East L.A. rock soundscape composed of Mexican ranchera, cumbia, salsa, rock, R&B, folk, and fusions of international musics, and also one whose political vision is based in social activism, feminism, and the belief that there is radical potential in expressive culture.

During the past two decades, the musical force of Quetzal has created a unique cultural platform that has sounded against conditions of oppression and marginalization. On the 20th anniversary of their first flight, Quetzal introduces us to another sphere of being, one that challenges us to reimagine human life in relation to the other forms of life that we are so often connected to and through.

Tickets are $25, $38 and $50. For more information, call (323) 461-3673, email [email protected] or go to http://fordtheatres.org.

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