Taiko Interview Articles

A series of articles that look at the history, development, and evolution of taiko in the United States. Click on the links below to read about TAIKOPROJECT, Kenny Endo, San Jose Taiko, Russel Baba & Jeanne Mercer of Shasta Taiko, and Marco Lienhard of Taikoza!


TAIKOPROJECT, founded in 2000, is an ensemble of America's premiere, emerging taiko drummers dedicated to preserving and disseminating American taiko drumming through educational activities and public performances. The ensemble's work balances the traditions and rich history of American taiko with a contemporary edge exploring new dimensions in taiko.

Kenny Endo

Kenny Endo is an internationally renowned taiko artist who performs both as a soloist and with his ensemble. He was the first non-Japanese national to be honored with a natori (stage name and master’s degree) in hogaku hayashi (classical taiko).

San Jose Taiko

Founded in 1973, San Jose Taiko was among the earliest taiko ensemble groups formed in the United States. They tour extensively each year and continue to be one of the most influential groups in the United States.

Russel Baba & Jeanne Mercer of Shasta Taiko

Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer founded the renowned Shasta Taiko group in 1985. In Mt. Shasta, California, they have found a unique setting to teach taiko to a diverse group of taiko players.

Marco Lienhard of Taikoza

Originally from Switzerland, Marco Lienhard was in Japan with an exchange program when he was introduced to taiko. He has performed with Ondekoza, toured extensively as a solo artist, and founded his own Japanese music and dance group based in New York.