Sept. 13: On Ensemble concert to power world fusion mix, taiko drums

On_Ensemble wsu concertPULLMAN, Wash. – Novel taiko drum group On Ensemble will perform in Washington State University’s Jones Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13.

On Ensemble’s world fusion sound blends ancient Japanese taiko drumming traditions with diverse musical elements ranging from jazz, rock and electronica to Central Asian overtone singing. One song might feature a traditional shinobue flute, the next a turntable, but they all have taiko at the heart of the music.

Tickets cost $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (ages 60 and up), and $9 non-WSU students and youth. WSU student admission is free with valid ID. A discounted rate of $14 per person is available to groups of eight or more.

Tickets are on sale at, 800-325-SEAT, WSU’s Beasley Coliseum, and the Rosauers supermarket in Lewiston, Ida. Advance tickets are subject to convenience charges, unless purchased at the Beasley Coliseum ticket office. The Daggy Hall box office opens for ticket sales and will-call beginning two hours before the performance.

On_Ensemble to play at WSU Jones Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
On_Ensemble to play at WSU Jones Theatre on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Created in 2002, On Ensemble is led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato “Maz” Baba. Kameda and Baba were instructed in taiko at a young age by Baba’s parents, accomplished taiko players and jazz musicians Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba.

The members of On Ensemble, combine their study and deep appreciation of Japanese traditional music with equally formative experiences as DJs, jazz musicians, electronic music producers and rock bassists to create some of the most compelling taiko music today.

“When we started On Ensemble, I think we always had this idea of trying to do something different with taiko, trying to really push the boundaries of what the art form could be and the … expressive qualities of the taiko,” Kameda said in a 2013 YouTube video announcing the release of the group’s third album.

While On Ensemble’s music relies on experimentation as much as tradition, the group is supported by one of Japan’s most important bearers of traditional culture, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, instrument maker to the emperor of Japan. This empowers On Ensemble to use authentic, rare Japanese instruments in its boundless exploration of taiko.

On Ensemble performs throughout the United States and Canada, from outdoor festivals to intimate art spaces, and was the first American taiko group invited to perform in the National Theater of Japan’s prestigious Nihon no Taiko concert series. The group has released three critically acclaimed studio albums, “Dust and Sand,” “Ume in the Middle” and “Bizarre Heroes,” and their music inspired and was featured in the award-winning short film “Yamasong.”

On Ensemble is presented by Festival Dance and Performing Arts, in residence at the University of Idaho, and WSU Performing Arts. This project received support from WESTAF, the Western States Arts Federation; ArtsWA, the Washington State Arts Commission; and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Residence Inn by Marriott Pullman and the Courtyard by Marriott Pullman.


Media Contact:

  • Gail Siegel, WSU Performing Arts, 509-335-8522,
  • Abby Glanville, Festival Dance & Performing Arts, 208-883-3267,