Phoenix Taiko Kai

Phoenix Taiko Kai

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Founded 2002

Basic Information

    Fushicho Daiko

Background Information

Group's Mission and Motivation

Share the enjoyment of taiko.
Personal development.

Structure and Philosophy
Describe the ensemble's organizational structure and philosophy, including leadership structure, membership policy, and instructional process.

We are simply students of of Fushicho Daiko. We operate though consensual anarchy, guided by our sensei. Each of us contributes what we can, whether that be the anchoring lead of a performance piece, a performance idea, computer administrivia, taking photos or loading the van. Each of us needs something from Taiko, the exercise, the musical aesthetic, the ensemble achievement or the universal connection of the drumbeat with the human condition. It makes us feel better.

Group History
Describe how, where, and why the ensemble was founded. What was its inspiration?

Intermediate students from the Fushicho Daiko Dojo have been performing as Phoenix Tako Kai since  2002. We are proud to carry the name as it was the name of the group founded in Arizona in 1992 by Esther Vandecar before it was superseded by Fushicho Daiko

List of Founding Members

Esther Vandecar, Diane Walker, Carie Modeer, Murray Writtle, Emma Sansone, Beth Rahe.

List of Current Members

Carie, Diane, Emma, Murray, Rebecca R, Laura, Robert

Membership Composition
(i.e. ethnicity, generation, average years of experience, musical backgrounds, and motivation for playing)

Average about 9 years of experience.

Some musicians, some with no other musical experiance.

No Japanese heritage, but some connection with and love for Japanese culture.

Description of the group's community - regional, ethnic, social, etc.

The Valley of the Sun, Phoenix Arizona

Biggest Changes
Describe two of the biggest changes that have characterized the group's development since its founding

Sharing a dojo for a year with Takeru Matsushita of Yamato.

The rotation of members.

Passing the torch from our founding sensei Esther Vandecar to Eileen Morgan.

Performances, Recordings, Publications

List a selection of your regular performance venues (for example, Denver Sakura Matsuri, Seabrook obon, business conventions, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Maui Marathon, etc.)

Phoenix Matsuri.
Concerts at RO HO EN the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Arisona Asian Festival.
Church and school festivals. 

Instructors, Teachers & Mentors
List the instructors, teachers and mentors who have worked with the ensemble.

Esther Vandecar. Eileen Morgan, Ken Koshio of Fushicho Daiko.
We have also benefitted from workshops in the Arizona Taiko community with Eichi Saito, Chieko Kojima, Yoko and Yoshikazu Fujimoto of Kodo, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, San Jose Taiko, Linda Uyehara-Hoffman, Kenny Endo, Hiro Ito, On Ensemble, the Kono family, Miyagawa-sensei, Takeru Matsushita,  and TAIKOPROJECT.

Taiko Collaborators
List a selection of taiko players or groups that have collaborated with the ensemble.

Fushicho Daiko

Odaiko Sonora

Musical & Performance Styles
Describe the ensemble's musical and performance styles.

Traditional Kumi-Daiko repertoire from Hiroshima, Matsuyama, Kawamoto and rural Shikoku. 


Murray Writtle


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation