Born : December 12, 1981 in San Francisco, California
Current Location: Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts)
Official Website : http://www.isakukageyama.com
"ancient music modern enough to enthrall thousands of young people"
Tokyo Journal 2009 Summer Edition
- First taiko drummer accepted to Berklee College of Music
- Five years as principle drummer of Amanojaku
- Worked with jazz greats Eric "Kamau" Gravatt, Terumasa Hino, Toshinori Kondo, and Kazutoki Umezu
Isaku Kageyama is a taiko drummer in Boston, MA who has brought the traditional Japanese instrument to the cutting-edge modern art scene across the globe. His distinct sound, strongly rooted in classical Japanese music, adds elements from a wide variety of music genres such as rock, jazz, electronic, Latin, and African, to produce a powerful groove that goes far beyond traditional taiko.
After working as one of the principle members of respected taiko ensemble Amanojaku for 5 years, Isaku moved to Boston, Massachusetts, becoming the first taiko drummer to be accepted into Berklee College of Music in 2011.
Isaku has collaborated with jazz greats Eric "Kamau" Gravatt, Terumasa Hino, Toshinori Kondo, and Kazutoki Umezu, as well as a wide range of ethnic musicians such as NATA (digeridoo), and Winchester Nii Tete (African percussion), He has worked on projects with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, and anime legend Takashi Yanase.
He is also a two-time National Odaiko (large drum) Champion, becoming the youngest person to win highest honors at the Mt. Fuji Odaiko Contest in 2000, and Hokkaido in 2003. Isaku has appeared in television commercials and events for brands such as Toyota, Boeing, Japan Postal Service, Aioi Sonpo and Shin Nihon Tatemono.
A powerful musician and icon of traditional Japanese culture, Isaku is one of the primary taiko drummers who will carry the art into the 21st century.
- Regular instructor at Wellesley University
- Workshops all over the world
- Facilitator of popular online taiko school
Isaku regularly instructs taiko at Wellesley University, and has conducted workshops all over the world including Berklee College of Music (Boston), North American Taiko Conference 2011 (Stanford University), Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center (New York), Brazil Taiko Association (Sao Paulo), French Institute of Japan (Tokyo) and Yokohama International School (Yokohama).
Since 2004, Isaku has traveled to Brazil 7 times, teaching over 500 Brazilians in their teens and 20s. His work in Brazil was instrumental to success of a 1200-person performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil, held in Sao Paulo in 2008. The performance was attended an audience of 37,000 - including Crown Price Naruhito.
He has a popular online taiko course on Loopto with students from around the world: