kaDON Workshop with Leonard Eto


We are very excited to bring taiko legend Leonard Eto to the Bay Area for a very special series of workshops on June 18-19th.  Registration is now open!  Please scroll down to register.

Instructor:  Leonard Eto

Hosted by:  San Francisco Taiko Dojo

Workshop Schedule:

6/18/16 (Sat) – Katsugi Okedo: 10:00am – 1:00pm SOLD OUT

6/18/16 (Sat)Ensemble Playing (“Zoku”): 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Followed by an optional BBQ Dinner @ SFTD ($10/person)

6/19/16 (Sun)Katsugi Okedo: 10:00am – 1:00pm

San Francisco Taiko Dojo
212 Ryan Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel:  650-583-4900

10 participants for each Katsugi Okedo workshop
18 participants for Ensemble Playing workshop



About Leonard Eto:

Leonard Eto is one of the world’s most influential and innovative taiko players. His creativity and vision has deeply molded the way taiko is performed and perceived. Leonard is known for the fluid dance like quality of his movements and the immense joy in his playing. The son of prominent koto player Kimio Eto, Leonard was deeply influenced by his father’s example of expanding the musical possibilities of a traditional instrument.

In 1984, Leonard joined KODO and soon became the principal performer, musical director and composer. His compositions for KODO: “Lion,” “Irodori” and “Zoku” propelled the group to new artistic heights. He is the creator of the modern katsugi style of playing, slinging the instrument over the shoulder so that the player could walk and dance while playing the drum. In 1992, Leonard left KODO to pursue a solo career and has collaborated with many great artists ranging from Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, The Chieftains, INXS, Ray Cooper, and Roger Taylor to world music superstars Zakir Hussain and Doudou Ndiaye Rose. His original compositions have been featured in films such as “JFK,” “The Lion King,” “The Hunted” and “The Thin Red Line” and in performances by master ballet dancer Patrick Dupond and figure skater Elvis Stojko.  Leonard has also collaborated with renowned Ballet National de Marseille, modern dance company Pilobolus, and master ballet dancer Nina Ananiashvili.

Find more information at leoeto.com.


Katugi Okedo Workshop Description:

The main appeal of the katsugi okedo style is the ability to mobilize one’s body while playing the instrument. Controlling the instrument with your body and motion is one of the most difficult aspects of the katsugi style. In this workshop, Leonard Eto will use various rhythms to develop full control of the drum through bachi motion and body weight shifting techniques. As part of the process, he will also cover Katsugi maintenance including how to tune and tighten the drum, optimum strap length to the player’s body, and bachi selection. Leonard Eto has requested we keep the small workshop small so that he can give personalized advice to each participant. Leonard will also share his stories behind developing the style back in the 80s.


Ensemble Playing Workshop Description:

In this workshop, Leonard will lead the participants through a creative process to create a improvisational piece based on each participant’s personality and experience. Participants will learn how to listen to what they are playing while listening to others and be able to recognize the interlocking structures. The goal is to build and feel the “groove” – the most exciting part of ensemble playing. Leonard used this same method to compose his famous piece “Zoku” while with KODO. He will use lines from “Zoku” to develop the group’s own groove and character. He will also teach how to utilize the weight of your arms and bachi to play efficiently and bachi control techniques that can create different tones on the drum that will add depth and creativity.

(Please note: Leonard Eto’s composition “Zoku” is protected by the JASRAC [Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers]. Participating in this workshop does not give one a right to use or play the composition without a royalty agreement.)