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Kenny Endo RADIO INTERVIEW
April 21, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT
American musician and taiko master Kenny Endo will be featured on WEFT 90.1 FM in a special radio program hosted by Jason Finkelman on Thursday, April 21, 2022 from 2-4pm. On a performance tour celebrating 45 years of taiko, Endo will reflect on his journey in the music and how Japanese American activism of the 1970s informed and inspired his practice.
Raised by first and second generation Japanese American parents in post WWII Los Angeles, California, Endo gained deeper understanding of the Japanese American Incarceration Experience as a university student in 1973 during a field study on a Native American reservation in Arizona, which had served as the Poston War Relocation Center.
In the same year, Endo was introduced to kumidaiko (ensemble drumming), was invited as a member of Los Angeles-based Kinnara Taiko in 1975 and continued his taiko training Japan in 1980 for the next decade. Returning to the US in 1990 to pursue graduate studies in Ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii, he and his wife Chizuko Endo formed the Taiko Center of the Pacific (TCP) in 1994. Since the early 90’s Endo has led two main performing groups: The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble and The Kenny Endo Contemporary Ensemble.
While Endo celebrates 45 years of taiko performance in 2022, this year also marks the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt, authorizing what was to become the mass forced removal and incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast. The ripples of this history and why it matters today will resonate in this special conversation between Endo and Finkelman.