Photos Toyo Miyatake Studio
“His ability to interweave … traditional taiko style with … jazz drumming has enabled him to create an incredibly dynamic style of performing that captivated the audience and was literally breathtaking. “ –The Grateful Web, NY
“Kenny Endo has probably taken taiko the farthest among Americans.” –Natural History, the North American Taiko Conference report
Celebrating his 45th Anniversary in Taiko, Kenny Endo stands at the vanguard of the taiko genre, as one of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm in North America and in Japan. For 45 years, he has led the way in this Japanese style of drumming in the U.S. and will celebrate with his 2022 tour: Breaking Through Tradition to Innovation: Kenny Endo’s Taiko Journey.
As a jazz percussionist and early innovator in Japanese taiko, Kenny Endo’s adventurous spirit stretches the taiko genre incorporating influences like funk, jazz, Afro-Cuban & Hawaiian, with roots firmly grounded in tradition. With 45 years of performing and touring, he continues to lead the way in this Japanese style of drumming. His performances are nuanced, brilliant, exciting!
Endo tours with his Contemporary Ensemble – taiko, vibes, drums, ‘ukulele, flute, koto or shamisen. The 45th Anniversary tour will feature prominent artists from Japan: Kiyohiko Semba, percussion master, and Kaori Takahashi, electric violin; and from the U.S.: Kaoru Watanabe, flutes, and Abe Lagrimas, vibes, drumkit, ‘ukulele.
Endo has received numerous awards and accolades, including special recognition in Japan—he was the first non-national to be honored with a “natori,” a stage name, in Japanese classical drumming and is still esteemed in Japan today. He has won numerous awards, was featured artist on 2005 PBS special Spirit of Taiko, as well as several film soundtracks (including Coppola’s Apocalypse Now), and was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts for American Masterpieces.
“… the concert was absolutely amazing. Each performer was a master soloist in their own right, and you all came together in a very special ensemble … all blended into a modern approach to percussion that I believe is unique in the world today.” –Chair, Dept of Music, Lafayette College
Cancelled due to covid-19 – Sun, Apr 12, 2020, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix AZ – to be rescheduled
with Abe Lagrimas Jr & Kaoru Watanabe
Past Tour Dates
Fri, July 21, 2017, Çırağan Palace & The Marmara Esma Sultan, Istanbul TURKEY
Wed, Oct 19 – Thurs Oct 20, 2017, Kendo-Drum Workshops & Cultural Sharing at Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts, Great Falls, MT
Rites of Thundering
40th Anniversary, SOKA