Uzume Taiko

Uzume Taiko is West Coast Canada’s premiere professional taiko drumming group. Performing both nationally and internationally since 1989, the group performs their unique West Coast Canadian taiko drumming styles to receptive audiences the world over. Uzume Taiko has presented concert tours in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Japan, the United States and in all corners of their homeland, Canada. From the Western and Mid Arctic to both coasts and many points in between, Uzume has also played at folk and jazz festivals throughout the Nation. The troupe has an active history presenting shows for youth throughout BC and leads taiko drum workshops in schools and communities for people of all ages. Uzume Taiko has self-produced six music CD's and one concert DVD available on Bandcamp through their web site: uzume.com.

Musical Ensemble collaborators have included Chor Leoni Choir, Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Big Wreck rock group, Orchid Ensemble, Hard Rubber Orchestra, Mearingstone Pipe Band, SFU Pipe Band, LOUD (electronic taiko drum guitar duo) and South Asian Arts (dhol drums and Bhangra dance).

Musical soloist collaborators have included Albert St. Albert (African percussion), Micheal O’Neill (highland pipes), Peggy Lee (cello), Alcvin Ramos and Takeo Yamashiro (shakuhachi flute), Curtis Andrews (South Indian, Ghanaian percussion), Ben Rogalsky (mandolin, banjo, harmonica, vocals), Dave Corman (guitars, keyboards), Simon Kendall (Hammond B organ), Boris Sichon (Middle Eastern multi-instrumentalist), Kesseke Yeo (West African dance and drums), Paul Bray (Afro-Centric percussion), Graham Ord and Amy Newman (saxophones).

Artist collaborators have included Kokoro Dance (butoh dance), Flamenco Rosario (flamenco dance & music), Lorita Leung Dance Company, Chengxin Wei (choreographer, martial artist), Kim Sato (hip hop dancer/choreographer), Gerardo Avila (storyteller, clown), Snake in the Grass Moving Theatre (clown, visual art, storytelling), Paula Ross Modern Dance and Mortal Coil (stilt walkers).

Bonnie Soon

Taiko Drums, Percussion, Shinobue Flute

Bonnie Soon has served as artistic director of Uzume Taiko since 1999. She incorporates choreography and theatrical elements with the festival drumming style of Japan to create new work for taiko drums often in collaborations with musicians and artists from diverse cultures and art forms. She builds taiko drum gear and leads taiko workshops and artist residencies in schools and communities. Bonnie began her performing career as a dancer touring with Paula Ross and Kokoro Dance companies and Snake in the Grass Moving Theatre. She has professional credits in stage management and has worked in media production.

Jason Overy

Taiko Drums, Percussion, Martial Arts

Jason Overy divides his time between performing, teaching and composing in the world of percussion. He has served as Musical Director of Uzume Taiko since 2004 providing direction on Uzume’s collaboration projects and national and international tours. Jason holds a BMus from UVic and has been the percussion section leader of the Band of the Fifteenth Field RCA for the last 20 years. He has developed curriculum in percussion, hand drumming and Taiko drumming and teaches music in a variety of settings. Jason holds a Sandan in Shotokan Karate-do and a Nidan in Kokodo Jujutsu.

Naomi Kajiwara

Taiko Drums, Percussion

Naomi joined the troupe in 2003 as a core drummer and has since collaborated in various concert productions with different interdisciplinary musicians and artists. Naomi grew up studying various dance forms with a particular interest in Hawaiian and Polynesian and continued her studies of fine arts and physical education at UBC (Bachelor of Human Kinetics). As a third generation Japanese Canadian, Naomi appreciates the connection taiko has offered in understanding her cultural history and she is inspired to create/collaborate/teach music and movement that is unique to the modern Canadian culture.

Boyd Seiichi Grealy

Taiko Drums, Percussion, Shinobue Flute, Tin Whistle

Boyd Grealy is an Educator, Taiko drummer and multi-instrumentalist. He holds a BMus, specializing in percussion and composition, from the University of Victoria. Boyd has been a member of Uzume Taiko for over twenty years, having served as co-artistic director, arranger, composer and performer. Musical highlights include: Principal percussionist with the Okanagan Symphony, Taiko drummer and composer with Mearingstone Pipe Band (commissioned by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad) and percussionist and drummer for DSR productions.  Boyd is currently in his twelfth year as the music director from grades three to ten at Stratford Hall International Baccalaureate School.

Jordy Riley

Taiko Drums, Percussion

Jordy began taiko at the age of seven in 1995 with Chibi Taiko, where he is now the Assistant Artistic Director. Jordy has toured professionally across Canada with Co.Erasga in a creation titled OrienTik/Portrait, a fusion of Asian aesthetics through contemporary dance, taiko and classical music. He is a co-founder of Drum Boyz, Vancouver’s newest taiko ensemble who made their public debut by winning the 2016 Nikkei Matsuri Talent Show with an original, comedic composition. Jordy is the Vice-President of the Vancouver Taiko Society and a manager at Canadian Fishing Company.

Ed Arteaga

Lighting Designer, Technical Director, Taiko Drum Builder

Ed Arteaga 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. Since 1997 he has accompanied Uzume Taiko on European tours as Lighting Designer and Technical Director in a wide range of theatrical venues in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Ed designs and builds Taiko drums and innovative drum stands for Uzume Taiko and is an integral team member with many talents.

Adam PW Smith

Photographer, Graphic Designer

Adam PW Smith's association with Uzume Taiko goes back almost 20 years. He specializes in photography and cinematography for music and documentary projects. http://adampwsmith.com/index.html