Kenny Endo, Taiko
One of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm, KENNY ENDO is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to carve new territory in this Japanese style of drumming. A performer, composer, and teacher of taiko, he has received numerous awards and accolades, including very special recognition in Japan—he was the first foreigner to be honored with a “natori,” a stage name, in Japanese classical drumming. Kenny Endo was a featured artist on the PBS special “Spirit of Taiko” in 2005. He has performed for such musicians as the late Michael Jackson and Prince, opened for The Who, performed a duet with singer Bobby McFerrin, and is featured on the soundtracks for Kayo Hatta’s film “Picture Bride”, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”, and recently worked on James Cameron’s “Avatar”. He has had a day named for him in by the Mayor of Honolulu “Kenny Endo Day”, and was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts for American Masterpieces. He has released 8 CDs of original music. Kenny is a consummate artist, blending Japanese taiko with rhythms influenced by his jazz background and by collaborations with artists from around the world. Kenny's taiko are provided courtesy of Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten.
Moy Eng, Vocals
Moy Eng is a singer and lyricist. Known for her “beautiful and soulful voice,” Moy has performed with wonderful artists including Anthony Brown, John Stowell, Jon Jang, Steve Nakano, Paul Eastburn, and Bill Murphy. As a lyricist, she collaborates with composer, Wayne Wallace. Moy is honored and thrilled to be working again with First Voice.
Shoko Hikage, Koto/Vocals
Shoko Hikage began playing koto at the age of three. Her first teacher was Chizuga Kimura of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai in Akita Prefecture, Japan. From 1985, she received special training from the 2nd and 3rd IEMOTO Seiga Adachi (hereditary head master of the Ikuta-ryu Sokyoku Seigen Kai). In 1988, Hikage graduated from Takasaki College with a major in koto music. She was then accepted as a special research student (uchideshi) at the Sawai Sokyoku In(Sawai Koto Institute) under Tadao and Kazue Sawai, where she received her master's certificate (kyoshi). Hikage also completed a one-year intensive seminar at the Sawai Sokyoku In. In 1992, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to teach koto at the Sawai Kotot Kai Hawaii (Sawai Koto Institute Hawaii branch) and at the University of Hawaii. In 1997, she moved to San Francisco where she continues her concert and teaching activities. Hikage premiered Hyo-shin Na's “Crazy Horse" for Korean Traditional Orchestra and Koto Solo with the National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments in Seoul, Korea in November, 2011. In the Bay Area, she also premiered Hyo-shin Na’s " Night Procession of the Hundred Demons", "Koto Music" and "Koto Ninano". In 2014, Hikage gave a solo recital with a program devoted to Hyo-shin Na's music for koto/bass koto at Buam Arts Hall in Seoul, Korea. The second CD of her playing of Na's music was released will on the Top Arts Label in the fall of 2014.
Marina Fukushima, Choreographer/Dancer
Marina Fukushima, born in Tokyo, Japan, is a dancer/choreographer based in San Francisco. She graduated with a BFA in Dance from Butler University and received teaching assistantship at the University of Iowa for her MFA in Dance. She has danced with Epiphany Productions, KUNST-STOFF, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, ODC and project agora and toured across the United States and internationally in Germany, Greece, Japan and Peru.
Mas Koga, Woodwinds/Shakuhachi
Originally from Japan and currently based in San Francisco CA, saxophonist and flautist Masaru Koga has been an integral part of the creative music scene, known for his colorful cross-cultural musical palette and innovative approach. He has traveled, recorded, and performed both nationally and internationally with artists such as Akira Tana, Anthony Brown, Mark Izu, Hafez Modirzadeh, Royal Hartigan, Fred Ho, Wayne Wallace, Gail Dobson, and Kat Parra. His recent work includes traveling to Japan with the Otonowa Project on a concert tour where they performed for the survivors of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
John-Carlos Perea, Vocals/Bass
John-Carlos is an ethnomusicologist and assistant professor in the Department of American Indian Studies. His research interests include the politics of noise and sound studies, urban American Indian lived experiences and cultural productions, music technologies, recording and archiving practices, Native and African American jazz cultures, and the Creek and Kaw saxophonist Jim Pepper. His essays have also been published in MUSICultures (formerly the Canadian Journal for Traditional Music / La Revue de musique folklorique canadienne), the Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music.