Taiko Jazz in Rotorua

We'll be in Rotorua at Tui Ridge for a taiko camp over Waitangi weekend and we're taking the opportunity to wow the locals in Rotorua with a free show called Taiko Fusion by Kenji, Riichi and Hide.

This performance will take place at the Belgian Bar (1151 Arawa St) on Friday 6th Feb (Waitangi Day) at 8pm and is based on Kenji's Megane Live show which involves the 3 players jazzing up taiko with solos, traditional songs on shamisen (Japanese banjo), the incorporation of a drum kit and funky rhythms. Imagine a more intimate setting, with less bang and crash, more jazz type soloing, dark sunglasses and a smoky atmosphere!

School Tours

The guys will also once again be embarking on school visits in the Waikato over a 3 week period, delighting students and staff alike with their mesmerizing drumming. There may be spaces left for your school. Please contact us if you want to book the professionals for this.


Riichi Yamauchi
An acclaimed percussionist, drummer, shamisen player and composer. Born in 1974 in Tottori, Japan, he began learning the shamisen at the age of 6. After attending Kyoto Conservatoire majoring in percussion, he began studying traditional folk songs under the guidance of a professional master. He then joined Matsurishu, a high-profile professional Japanese drum group in Kyoto, and soon became its musical director. Since 2001 Matsurishu has performed in Canada, Central America and Korea. Riichi is in great demand as a solo percussionist and shamisen player for many varied projects including theatre productions in Kyoto, along with many concerts in Tottori, Okayama, Nagoya and Kyoto. He not only performs traditional Japanese music but also performs for classical orchestras, ensembles and chamber music groups. He held solo shamisen concerts in Vienna and Berlin in 2006 and 2007, and released his first solo CD Yaraiya in 2004.

Kenji Furutate
A flamboyant drummer and percussionist with a special spark. Born in 1980 in Osaka, Japan, he was a founding member of Dakanto, a successful professional Japanese drum group established in 2000 in Nagoya. He went on to establish GONNA, a professional percussion group in 2003 and has held numerous concerts all over Japan including a performance for the World Expo in Aichi in 2005. He Became a solo artist in 2006 and has collaborated with many artists from various fields including dance, Japanese traditional, rock, jazz and classical music. His outstanding improvisational abilities are widely known throughout Japan. In 2007 he was invited to be a member of a specially assembled unit for performances in Shanghai and Beijing for the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. The concert was broadcast national in both countries.

Hidenori Yura
Hide is the youngest and one of the most outstanding members of Matsurishu, a professional taiko group based in Kyoto, Japan. Since 2004 he has performed a number of large-scale concerts in Japan and overseas with the group, while studying traditional and contemporary music. His unique compositions and energetic performances were included on Matsurishu's popular CD Raion. In 2004, he set up his own unit - Hide & Keith - with Canadian percussionist Keith Hills. The duo released their first CD [pfat?] in 2005, and second, Kukuruyuk, in 2008. In 2007 he entered the International Songwriting Competition held annually in the US (judges include Tom Waits, Nelly Furtado, Jerry Lee Lewis) and made it through to the finals of the competition, boosting his profile in the USA considerably. While he is busy with his duties as a practicing Buddhist monk, he also collaborates with many talented artists including shamisen players, saxophonists, clarinet players, gamelan players, and didgeridoo players. Hide is rated as one of the most popular emerging percussionists in Japan today.

Click here for a list of all our performances.