TAIKO Artist Kenny Endo Receives Prestigious 2022 United States Artists Fellowship

Kenny Endo. Photo by Lia Chang

Born and raised Angeleno, Kenny Endo, master of taiko drums, is one of 63 Fellows named nationwide to be a 2022 United States Artist Fellow.

The awards, recognizing outstanding creative achievements and supporting future artistic endeavors, reflect creative work across 10 disciplines: architecture and design, craft, dance, film, media, music, theater, and performance, traditional arts, visual art and writing. Recipients will received $50,000 each to be used toward whatever endeavor they want, personal or professional.

The corona virus pandemic has stymied live performing arts but Endo has used the time to hone his craft while pivoting to online teaching and virtual performances. Endo currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii and is now preparing to embark on a 11 state tour (GA, VA, DC, NY, PA, IL, OH, MN, AZ, CA, OR) celebrating his 45th anniversary of taiko. He will perform at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on Friday May 13, and the Aratani Theater in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (full tour details can be found on his website: www.kennyendo.com

Endo is a Nisei-han – his father was an Issei and his mother was a nisei born in Canada. Both his parents originated from Shizuoka, Japan. Endo first saw taiko in 1973 and immediately knew that he wanted to make taiko his path in life. He first studied with the ground-breaking Kinnara Taiko of Los Angeles, then the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In 1980, he embarked on a 10 year odyssey in Japan studying and performing with the luminaries of the art form including Daihachi Oguchi, considered the founder of the kumi-daiko phenomenon. He was a professional member of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, one of the top 5 taiko groups at the time while simultaneously studying classical and festival Japanese drumming. He became the first non-Japanese national to receive a natori (stage name and master’s license) in hogaku hayashi, classical Japanese drumming. Today, Endo is most well-known for his inter-cultural collaborations and original music combining both East and West yet his foundation is firmly rooted in the traditional music of Japan. He has paved the way for many taiko practitioners to pursue taiko as a career, many having spent time in Hawaii to learn from him.

For bookings, contact:  taikoarts.com


hawaiimagazine.com: Honolulu Taiko Drummer Kenny Endo Named 2022 United States Artist Fellow

star advertiser.com: Grant will help taiko master Kenny Endo keep the beat

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young, written and directed by Garth Kravits, recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

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