Los Angeles, CA
With Japanese drums at the foundation of its world fusion mix, On Ensemble takes the ancient instruments of taiko into new realms. Infusing the powerful rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica, On Ensemble's unique sound has been praised as "completely original and brilliantly conceived." Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble "an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums."
On Ensemble's four members, Masato Baba, Kristofer Bergstrom, Shoji Kameda and Kelvin Underwood are individually recognized as leading artists in their field. Sought after as teachers, workshop leaders, composers and performers, On Ensemble members have been featured in the music of the hit TV show "Heroes", in the David Mamet movie "Redbelt" and performing with Stevie Wonder at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As On Ensemble they combine their study and deep appreciation of tradition with equally formative experiences as DJs, electronic music producers, Jazz drummers, and rock bassists to create a repertoire of ground-breaking music.
From outdoor festivals and concert halls to gymnasiums and classrooms, On Ensemble has shared its unique music and outreach programs with audiences throughout the United States and Japan.
For all of their avant-garde musical explorations, On Ensemble is supported by one of Japan's most important traditional-culture bearers, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, instrument maker to the emperor of Japan. This support empowers On Ensemble to utilize authentic, rare Japanese instrument s in its fearless exploration of taiko.
"Their work combines 21st century experimental sound with centuries-old Noh and Kabuki music... With the combination of ancient drum rhythm and the scratching on a turntable, the piece was a mix of old and new that took one from a primeval place to a contemporary dance floor. The combination was a great mix, technically precise, and the unique sound was delightful to hear."
"This is one of the most innovative and musically fresh groups ever to take the stage in the big hall (Cerrios Center for the Performing Arts)"
"... a bit like progressive rocker Beck in that way, taking a familiar sound and reinterpreting it for a new generation."
Los Angeles Japanese Daily News