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About Asano Taiko U.S. UnitOne
Founded in 2014, UnitOne is the resident kumi-daiko (組太鼓)/wadaiko (和太鼓) group, or taiko (Japanese drumming) ensemble of Asano Taiko U.S in Los Angeles, CA. With a goal to achieve a true strike and taiko wo narasu (鳴らす), real sound, UnitOne seeks to connect with audiences and communities through the taiko. The name is derived from double meaning - the leading group of Asano Taiko US and having a single tone. Influenced by the diametric contradiction of achieving oneness through kosei (個性), individuality, UnitOne’s music is influenced by Japanese, American, and Japanese-American cultures.
With members from diverse musical, cultural, and personal backgrounds, the group studies and performs both traditional and contemporary compositions. UnitOne supports the Los Angeles Taiko Institute (LATI) as teachers and administrative assistants for over 200 students. Group members have contributed to the formation of multiple taiko groups within LATI and continue to have a strong presence in the South Bay and Los Angeles areas through local partnerships. UnitOne has collaborated with well-known Japanese artists such as Miyakejima Geinoudoushikai and Chieko Kojima of Kodo, and performed at major events including the 2019 Godzilla King of the Monsters’ premiere in Hollywood, Taiko Jam 2015 in Las Vegas, and 2015 Extasia festival in Japan.
Purpose for Fundraising
After six years since inception, UnitOne is entering the next phase as a taiko group. What is UnitOne’s distinct sound? What contributions will it continue to make towards the community? What will the group focus on, and what path will UnitOne take in the upcoming years? At this critical juncture in time, a retreat is imperative to the continued success of the group.
The serene, beautiful, nature-filled Hachijō-jima (八丈島) will be the venue for the retreat. The lives of those residing on Hachijō are intertwined with taiko. Taiko is not just an artform, but a part of the island and its people. By experiencing this deep connection between taiko and life, UnitOne will reflect on their own relationship with taiko and how they connect with themselves, other members, and the communities they serve.
UnitOne will experience three days living together - breathing the same air and forging deeper relationships. Aside from discussions and workshops, UnitOne will also give back to Hachijō by performing the fundraising concert for residents and in honor of Yuta’s teacher, Takashi Okuyama.
As UnitOne members are paying out of pocket for this important endeavor, the fundraising concert will help offset the costs which include airfare, workshops, room and board, food, and other expenses as necessary. Thank you for your continued support!
UnitOne Fundraising Concert
Please join us on Saturday, October 12th, 2019, 6-7pm at ASANO TAIKO US for UnitOne’s inaugural fundraising concert. Debuting four new compositions written by group members, the show will raise funds for UnitOne’s first ever retreat on Hachijo-jima (八丈島), Japan. The new pieces reflect on the four seasons of our planet: spring (春, haru), summer (夏, natsu), autumn (秋, aki), and winter (冬, fuyu).
In the spirit of empowering group members and preparing the next generation, UnitOne’s “90’s”, or members born in the 1990s, boldly created the new pieces with guidance and coaching from the “80’s”, or group members born in the 1980s. Similar to UnitOne members, the seasons are distinctly beautiful, each contributing their unique characteristics to the lifecycle of the planet. Yet, they are connected and interdependent, working together to sustain life. We hope, through the taiko, you can feel the heart and spirit of the seasons.
Quotes from UnitOne Members
“It is important for us, as taiko players, to understand where taiko came from. What we do is derived by something. Do we make sound from taiko, or are we playing taiko the instrument? I feel taiko is not just rhythm, but how our minds and bodies connect with each other and inspire those around us. I believe the retreat will help UnitOne figure out its next steps and further define the group’s voice about how we can further contribute to the taiko community and artform.”
“I’ve been to Hachijō-jima twice, once as a recent college graduate and for the first LATI Japan Tour. Each time, I have felt the warmth of the people and the vibrant energy from the island's nature. Los Angeles’s urban and technology heavy environment is very different from Hachijo’s small community and lifestyle. I think it’s important UnitOne experiences this heartwarming, genuine community together so we can bring back what we’ve learned to our taiko playing, our communities, and LATI.”
“Taiko is not just fun. It can be difficult, boring, etc. We have to experience all these emotions with taiko to have good taiko players. We have to better understand ourselves and one another to develop as a strong taiko group. Thank you for supporting our fundraising concert to help UnitOne achieve its goals.”
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