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On Ensemble Rocks with Ancient Percussion

  • May 20, 2009
J.S. Bach, in his day, fused rhythms and styles of different countries into a new form of Baroque music. Today, the On Ensemble (rhymes with phone), with Japanese drums at the foundation of its world fusion mix, takes the ancient instruments of taiko into new realms. You can hear for yourself in two Oregon Bach Festival 2009 concerts: Taiko Together, under the OBF Kids banner, and a major concert Saturday night, June 27 in the Hult Center. Infusing the powerful rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock, throat singing, koto, and electronica, On Ensemble’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.” On Ensemble’s four members, Masato Baba, Kristofer Bergstrom, Shoji Kameda and Kelvin Underwood are individually recognized as leading artists in their field. They have been featured in the music of the hit TV show “Heroes,” in the David Mamet movie “Redbelt” and performing with Stevie Wonder at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As On Ensemble they combine their study and deep appreciation of tradition with equally formative experiences as DJs, electronic music producers, Jazz drummers, and rock bassists to create a repertoire of ground-breaking music. Video: "Turns," with taiko and turntable.