Shasta Taiko 2013 Presents In Concert

Taiko 'confirmation and inspiration' on COS stage

by Steve Gerace
Mount Shasta Herald, July 24, 2013

On Ensemble, featuring Masato Baba, Kelvin Underwood, Shoji Kameda, and Kris Bergstrom played a variety of percussive instruments during Saturday night's Shasta Taiko Presents concert at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed. On Ensemble's music combines many world music styles including Mongolian throat singing by Shoji Kameda.

They played pieces from their new CD Bizarre Heroes, which Kameda described as a "tribute to all the great people in your life...people who allow us to pursue this path and do what we do." He expressed special appreciation for Shasta Taiko founders Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, describing them as "as a real treasure." people who have helped many others become "richer and fuller human beings."

Toru Watanabe and Michelle Fujii of Portland Taiko performed an intricate dance while playing a pair of facing drums in a piece tiltled "Zutto futari de (stuck together) - intertwining, following, trusting, negotiating."

Russel Baba said seeing the development of taiko is "confirmation and inspritation...for parents and teachers there is nothing better than to see growth, and so it is with On Ensemble." He and Jeanne Mercer started Shasta Taiko in the 1980s in Mount Shasta. On Ensemble includes their son Masato Baba and Shoji Kameda, who both started learning taiko with them as children and are now performing around the world and taking the art in new directions.

"Pretty amazing stuff," one audience member said after the first indoor Shasta Taiko show in many years. Next year, they plane to bring back the outdoor ShastaYama Festival.

In Appreciation

Shasta Taiko wishes to thank all the supporters, fans, businesses, and organizations who've joined us in our efforts in establishing a platform to introduce and develop this phenomenal dynamic art form of taiko.

On Saturday evening, July 20, at the College of the Siskiyous Kenneth Ford Theater, the concert thrilled, moved, and inspired all in attendance. The level of artistry was astonishhing and held the attention of the audience even with the heat of a 100 degree plus weather. The standing ovation response was heart-felt and genuine.

Taiko is alive and developing to amazing levels. Each year the music and drumming get better as we witness the emergence of taiko around the world, across the nation, and right here in our community!

Shasta Taiko would not be able to present and grow taiko without the support from the community.

Russel Baba & Jeanne Mercer

In Concert 2013 Sponsors

Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce

Snow Creek Studios

Enjoy Magazine

Scott Valley Bank

Shasta Taiko

Berryvale Natural Foods Grocery

Wholesale Solar

Siskiyou Arts Council

Mount Shasta Radio

Mount Shasta Parks


Soul Connections

Tri-Counties Bank

Crystal Room

General Produce

Mt. Shasta Marketing



Wayside Grill