#94 Taku Hirano- Percussionist for Fleetwood Mac, Bette Midler, Whitney Houston and More!
Photo of Taku taken by Djeneba Aduayom
Taku Hirano, one of the top percussionists on the touring and recording circuit, has been referred to by rock legend Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer for Fleetwood Mac, as his “Secret Weapon" for good reason. His training encompasses Classical concert percussion, jazz drum set, and traditional Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, West African, Middle Eastern, Indian and Japanese styles and instruments.
This includes a BM cum laude from Berklee College of Music as the institution's first graduating Hand Percussion degree major, four years under the tutelage of conga master Giovanni Hidalgo, four years of Middle Eastern percussion studies under world fusion percussionist Jamey Haddad, studies with frame drumming virtuoso Glen Velez, graduate studies in World Music Performance at California Institute of the Arts studying West African and Indian percussion, time spent with Tokyo’s leading taiko drumming dojo through the Nippon Taiko Foundation, research in Havana, Cuba studying for a month both privately with percussion legend Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and at the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte - ENA, and formative years spent under the guidance of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra principal timpanist Kristan Phillips, jazz drumming legend Alan Dawson and world-renowned pop, funk and jazz drummer Ndugu Chancler.
Taku’s client list of luminaries spans practically every genre. He has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, John Mayer, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru, as a soloist on Japanese and Indian percussion with Academy Award-winning Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), and as a featured soloist on the #7 top-grossing concert tour of all time, Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour.
When Marcos mentions that he is eating Chipotle, it was an opportune time to use the great group Flor de Toloache, an all female Mariachi band.
The first segment of the episode is the Product Review. This week featured is the Hand-Bale designed by our guest Taku and the percussion company Meinl. It allows you to play timbales with your hand or with a stick. It also can be mounted to a clamp with a standard 3/8th inch rod or you can place it in a snare stand in the basket and use the mounting hole to put a 3/8th inch rod in and mount a cowbell or wood block to it.
Festival Alerts for this week……
The AES convention is in NYC at the Jacob Javits center from Oct 17-20th, 2018.
Insomniac introduces its first ever music and gaming event called the Play Festival.
The Social Soundbyte for this week are the Asalato/Cas Cas Shakers from Ghana, Senegal and Mali (depending on who you talk to).
Music News for this week…..
The Music Modernization Act was signed into law by the President and he was not surrounded by Kanye as mentioned in the past, but by a gathering of white men (no women, nor people of color). Side note, signing up with a PRO is mentioned as well as Sound Exchange.
In honor of world mental health day, Kanye had lunch with Trump and it went off the rails very quickly. But wait, imma let you finish, Taylor Swift, in a turn of events, endorsed democratic candidates in Tennessee.
The New Yorker published an article about the reality of climate change. The thing about science is that it is based off of factual research, whether you believe it or not. Hopefully we will continue to still have a planet to make music on.
You can check to see if your Facebook account was hacked and what to do if it was.
As promised you can find out what the last day to make sure you are registered for the November 6th voting day.
If you are unsure who to vote for, there is a non-biased political quiz that will ask you the questions that are current topics and based on your (truthful) answers, it will tell you who you align with politically. Check out the link: I Side With Quiz.
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison.
After two years of piano lessons in elementary school, Taku made the switch to percussion and has been playing that ever since. Starting on classical percussion and later moving to other “ethnic” or “world” styles. He started with Brenda Myers in Fresno California.
When he moved to Hong Kong, he attended the Hong Kong International School and studied with Kristan Bowers Phillips, who passed away in 2014.
After returning from Hong Kong to Fresno, he finished up at the Roosevelt School of the Arts.
Airto Moreira was one of Taku’s first influences in the world of Afro-Caribbean percussion.
Some of the great musicians that Taku was in school with at Berklee include ‘Lil’ John Roberts, (friend of the show) Fausto Cuevas, Abe Laboriel Jr., the late John Blackwell Jr., Adonis Rose, Johnny Rabb & Brad Mason.
After graduating Berklee and staying in Boston for an extra year, Taku attended grad school at Cal Arts.
Taku worked was hired for the Whitney Houston gig by Rickey Minor. The moment in 1999 in Mannheim Germany Taku refers to backing Whitney Houston can be seen below…..
Thanks to musical designer Kevin Antunes for the suggestion of having a percussionist on the floor. You can see the conga harness worn by Taku in the Michael Jackson Immortal show by Cirque du Soleil.
You can see the Hawthorne Caballeros drum corps with their marching latin percussion section.
L.A. Percussion Rentals is a place you can rent or store large percussion instruements.
The percussion museum Damon and Taku talk about is in Indianapolis called the Rhythm Discovery Museum.
The T-Shirt line that Taku has is called 3rd Culture Style.