Taiko Arts Center Presents Virtual Concert, ‘Ame — Tears of the Earth’

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HONOLULU — Taiko Arts Center, in collaboration with Taiko Center of the Pacific, will present a virtual livestream concert entitled “雨 Ame — Tears of the Earth,” broadcast live from the historic Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu on Saturday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

Kenny Endo

Featured artists include: master taiko artist Kenny Endo, Taiko Center of the Pacific Performing Ensemble, Taiko Center of the Pacific Youth Group, and special guests Peter Rockford Espiritu and Tau Dance Theater (hula and contemporary dance), Todd Yukumoto (saxophone, flute), Abe Lagrimas, Jr. (ukulele, vibraphone, drumset), and Nawahine Lanzilotti (cello, voice).

“雨 Ame — Tears of the Earth” is a composition originally created by Endo in response to the tragic events of 9/11. He dedicated the piece to the victims of aggression so prevalent in the world. “This concert is an effort to speak out against hate and violence aimed at people of color and diverse backgrounds. Taiko can be used as a catalyst to bring these issues to the forefront and inspire change. Different cultures and art forms will come together on stage in a spirit of unity and respect for diversity. We hope to counter negativity with love and creativity through this musical performance.

“Rain is cleansing and healing. The Earth and all its inhabitants are facing many challenges and collectively we are standing at a critical juncture. We must come together to foster harmony and recreate balance in the midst of chaos. The performing arts, limited by the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year, have the potential to heal, educate, inspire, and transform society. Music and the arts can be utilized to uplift spirits and create a better world.”

Tsun-Hui Hung

Endo is a world-class taiko artist. A 45-year career taiko practitioner, he has paved the way for aspiring taiko drummers and remains at the vanguard of the genre. Instrumental in popularizing the art form all across the country, his name is synonymous with the word “taiko” in the greater musical world.

He holds the distinction of being the first non-Japanese national to be honored with a natori (stage name and master’s license) in classical Japanese drumming. He has traveled the world presenting his music blending East and West. Most recently, his music was featured in the documentary on the 25-year history of the Honolulu Festival. Endo composed “Spirit of Rice” for the inaugural Honolulu Festival and blessing of its mikoshi (portable shrine), which is said to house the spirit of rice.

A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko with numerous awards and accolades, Endo is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world. www.kennyendo.com

Abe Lagrimas, Jr.

Special guest Tau Dance Theatre founder, choreographer, and artistic director Espiritu and company join the cast with their amazing talents combining ballet, modern dance, hula, and Pacific Island traditions. www.taudance.org

Yukumoto is a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band, director of the University of Hawaii Saxophone Choir, and renowned jazz saxophonist and flutist. (http://dyukumoto.com)

Lagrimas is a multi-instrumentalist, primarily known as a jazz drummer and vibraphonist, but also has a thriving career as an ukulele player. Originally from Hawaii, he has toured with Endo extensively and is currently based in Los Angeles. (www.abelagrimasjr.com)

Lanzilotti is a multi-stylist cellist and vocalist with a diverse background including American folk, blues, rock, and Hindustani classical music. (www.nawalanzilotti.com)

The awe-inspiring Taiko Center of the Pacific Performing Ensemble and Youth Group have both been entertaining Hawaii audiences for over 25 years. This performance marks their first major event since the pandemic began in March 2020. (www.taikoarts.com)

Tickets are on a donation basis and available for reservation now. Reservations can be made at (808) 528-0506; and online at https://www.hawaiitheatre.com/upcoming-events/ or www.bit.ly/AmeTearsoftheEarth.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit organizations supporting anti-racism and against global warming.

Taiko Arts Center, a 501c3 federally approved nonprofit organization, promotes and fosters an appreciation of the Japanese art of taiko drumming through education, preservation, collaboration, and innovation.

Taiko Center of the Pacific (TCP) is a school of traditional and contemporary Japanese drumming based in Honolulu. Established in 1994, the school offers taiko drumming classes to the general public starting from age 2 through seniors. Classes for families as well as the deaf community are also available. TCP has been offering online classes since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and hopes to return to in-person classes soon.

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