Welcome, Charlotte & HanBin!

We are happy to announce our two newest performing members, Charlotte Whatley and HanBin Baik! Both Charlotte and HanBin joined our trainee program last fall and have practiced and performed with us throughout the year. You may have seen them playing the in our signature piece “Matsuri” as well as our newest piece, “Tsunagu”, which was taught to us by Kodo.

Charlotte began her taiko career with Gendo Taiko at Brown University, where she played for four years. Outside of Soh Daiko, Charlotte works as a tech analyst at Citigroup and does research on foundational models with the Center for Tech Responsibility at Brown. When she’s not working or playing taiko, Charlotte enjoys playing cello, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Photos by Patrick Dufreche (1), Veronica Diaz (2), Peter Lichtenthal (3)

HanBin started Taiko with Stony Brook’s Taiko Tides and continued with New York Taiko Aiko Kai after graduating. He currently works as an App Developer in the Pest Control industry, and additionally serves as a Co-Chair of the Membership Committee in the Taiko Community Alliance. Outside of work and taiko, HanBin enjoys playing the piano and writing music.

Photos by Veronica Diaz (1-2), Peter Lichtenthal (3)

We are excited to see Charlotte and HanBin grow as performing members in the years to come. Please join us in offering them your congratulations and full support!

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Cherry Blossom Festivals Abound & More Shows to Come!

Between Bloomfest at NJ’s Branch Brook Park, JAANY’s Sakura Matsuri at Flushing Corona Park, and Randall’s Island’s Earth Day festival, we hope you got a chance to see us while the cherry blossom’s were in bloom!

Bloomfest! at Branch Brook Park
Photos by Matthew Tom-Wolverton

Now we’re gearing up for our May performances, starting with the Queens Public Library this Sunday, 5/7. Located at the Central Library in Jamaica, Queens, we will take the stage with favorite Soh Daiko pieces, plus audience participation and education on the history of taiko. This event is free and great for the whole family!

JAA’s Sakura Matsuri (left) & Randall’s Island Earth Day (middle & right)
Photos by Veronica Diaz

This past month we also joined Japanese Ambassador Mikio Mori for a press conference to announce this year’s Japan Parade on Saturday, May 13th! In just a couple weeks, we will drum our way down Central Park West alongside a host of other performers and community groups, featuring Grand Marshal Kristi Yamaguchi. This year there will also be a street fair held concurrently on West 72nd. You can read more about the parade at some through some of the press coverage – see here, here, and more! We hope to see you there!

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Happy Women’s History Month from Soh Daiko! As the month comes to an end, we are reflecting on the women who have had an impact on Soh Daiko over the past 40+ years. Two years ago we shared a video of a conversation with the three women who helped build Soh Daiko and our repertoire from the start: Merle Mieko Okada, Teddy Yoshikami, and Jennifer Wada. This year, we spoke with two inspiring former members who were active with Soh Daiko in the 1990’s and who continue playing taiko to this day: Kelly Kuwabara and Kathy Fuller.

Kathy Fuller was a member of Soh Daiko from 1995-2000; she has since gone on to co-form San Diego Taiko in California. Kelly Kuwabara was a member of Soh Daiko from 1996-2001; she currently plays with Hoh Daiko in New Jersey and serves on the board of the Taiko Community Alliance.

We discussed how taiko empowered them as women, the role of mentorship and community in their Soh Daiko experience, and more. Check out our highlights from that conversation in the below short video, as well as the original video from 2021 here!

Thank you Kathy and Kelly for taking the time to chat with us, and for all you’ve done for Soh Daiko and the taiko community!

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