Biography of Artists

Bonnie Soon - Jason Overy - Naomi Kajiwara  - Boyd Seiichi Grealy-

  Gerardo Avila - Ed Arteaga - MentorsPhotographers

Bonnie Soon

Bonnie has performed, composed and taught as a solo taiko artist and in collaborations with musicians and artists from diverse cultures and art forms. Bonnie began her performing career as a professional dancer touring with the Paula Ross Modern Dance Company, Kokoro Dance and Snake in the Grass Moving Theatre and joined Uzume Taiko in 1991 as a core drummer. She enjoys the pursuit to communicate through movement and music being inspired as a young girl by Fred Astaire movies and big band music.
Bonnie learned taiko drumming with teachers from Vancouver, the United States and Japan. She
is inspired by world rhythms from studying hand drumming with Sal Ferreras, Glen Velez, Trichy Sankaran and Modesto Amegago at the Simon Fraser University World Music Percussion Intensive. She keeps fit with Tony Horton’s P90X fitness programs.

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Jason Overy

Jason holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Victoria. He has played, recorded, and toured both nationally and internationally with Uzume Taiko since 1999. Jason has been fortunate to have the opportunity to study with some of North America’s taiko and percussion masters such as Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka: Master Taiko Drummer, Kenny Endo, Taiko Star Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Percussion Master Sal Ferreras and Drum Set Master Lou Williamson. In return, he has enjoyed teaching music in workshops, private lessons and institutionally, to people of all ages locally, nationally and internationally. Jason is also an Instructor of Shotokan Karate-do and travels to Japan with his Sensei to study as often as possible.

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Naomi Kajiwara

Naomi joined Uzume Taiko in 2003, two years after her first workshop with the group in 2001. She has enjoyed performing for different audiences, from local elementary schools to international concerts. Naomi has a long background in dance performance including Polynesian, Hawaiian, jazz, tap and hip-hop styles. She has learned from taiko professionals Kenny Endo, Tiffany Tamaribuchi and Michelle Fujii while attending various North American taiko conferences and workshops. She received a Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree from UBC.

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Boyd Seiichi Grealy 

Boyd joined Uzume Taiko in 1991 as a core member and has performed, composed and toured with the troupe, most recently on the Fall 2015 European Tour. Boyd is a classically-trained percussionist with a degree in music from the University of Victoria. He has performed with the Victoria Symphony and was the principal percussionist for the Okanagan Symphony for three years. He has also been a member of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa and the Pacific Militia Arts Band in Vancouver. Boyd is a music educator teaching taiko drumming and music to youth in Vancouver.

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Gerardo Avila Theatrical Consultant

Gerardo Avila has been performing professionally since 1974 as a solo clown, mime, magician and storyteller. He has been Co-director, writer and performer for groups like Oh Sweet Clown, Electro Tecno Teatro, La Ratatouille and Snake in the Grass Moving Theatre (recipients of the Global 500 award from the United Nations). Gerardo has performed original sketches for Cirque du Soleil and in major festivals in Canada and Mexico. He has collaborated with Uzume Taiko since 1992 and mentors the group in mask and theatrical work.

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Ed Arteaga Lighting Designer, Technical Director

Ed Arteaga began his theatre career on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in children’s summer stock theatre.  He graduated from Boston University with a degree in music composition and resettled in Vancouver, Canada.  He has been an active member of the Vancouver theatre scene for over 30 years as technical director and lighting designer for dance and theatre companies including Ailanthus Performing Arts Center for Youth, Uzume Taiko, Align Entertainment, Goh Ballet Company, Paula Ross Dance Company and the Surrey Arts Center.
Ed designs and builds drums and innovative stands for Uzume Taiko and contributes his creative energy to maintaining Uzume's taiko drums and gear. Ed is an integral team member with many talents.

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Uzume Taiko Artist Mentors:

Percussionist, Music Educator & Producer: Salvador Ferreras: www.salferreras.com

Theatrical Mask & Costume Makers:

Tsuneko Kokubo: www.tsunekokokubo.ca
Paul Gibbons: www.cdbaby.com/artist/garbanzo

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Uzume Taiko Gallery Photographers:

Adam PW Smith: www.adampwsmith.com

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