Kenny Endo to Perform for 40th Anniversary in Hilo
In a 40th anniversary celebration, popular taiko artist Kenny Endo will perform with his ensemble at Sangha Hall in Hilo on Saturday, May 14.
The 6 p.m. performance will showcase Endo’s 40 years of taiko drumming.
Called one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, Endo links classical Japanese music with his own neo-traditional inspired lines.
Endo was the first non-Japanese national to receive a natori, which is a teaching license and state name, in hogaku hayashi, classical Japanese music.
Born in Los Angeles, Endo attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and later the University of California Los Angeles, where he was a member of Kinnara Taiko.
The Kinnara Taiko group performed at Senshin Buddhist Temple, where he met his wife, Chizuko. Endo moved to Japan, where a one-year stay turned into a decade.
In 1990, Endo applied to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s ethnomusicology program and to the East-West Center for a scholarship. He was accepted into the program and received the scholarship, so the Endo family moved to Hawai’i.
On May 14, Endo will perform with his wife Chizuka, Kirstin Pauka, Mike Yamazaki, and Patrick Oiye.
Noel Okimoto will join on drums, vibraphone, and marimba; Yi Chieh Laiw will join on guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither; and Christopher Blasdel on shakuhachi.
Tickets cost $20 and are being sold at KTA Super Stores in Hilo, Puainako, and Downtown Hilo.