Taiko Lab is your opportunity to experience original compositions, experimental melodies, and brand new rhythms from the innovative composers/ensemble members of Mu Daiko.

You will see the evolution of ideas presented in last year’s lab, as well as a host of brand new pieces. We will explore using fue melodies, Japanese folk dance, tai-chi movement and heart pounding rhythms that seek to stretch the melodic and choreographic elements of taiko.  Similar to last year, every Mu Daiko and MTI members has been challenged to create and perform new work.

Seating is very limited, so please reserve your seat in advance for this exciting showcase.


Taiko Lab 2016

Hikari Kaze
by Michiko Todokoro Buchanan
Taiko Pop! By Jennifer Weir
Untitled by Kai Anderson (MTI)
Inspiration by Chiaki O’Brien
Sakura Sakura by Junko Kumamoto (MTI)
Emi by Heather Jeche
Impermanent Wind by Jeff Ellsworth
Falling Flowers by Arlene Teraoka and Cathie VanDanacker
Summer Storm by Jennifer Weir


Hikari Kaze (Light and Breeze) 

A mysterious feeling surrounds you.  Then you notice that a person you shouldn’t be able to see in this world is standing by you.  The sun envelopes you both, and you embrace the person energetically.  After a moment the person disappears, but you feel a nice breeze as it whispers “it’s OK.  I’m always with you.”

Players: Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Jeff Ellsworth, Heather Jeche, Susan Tanabe, Cathie VanDanacker,  Emma Valentine, Arlene Teraoka, Jenifer Cho


Taiko Pop!

Inspired by a Korean pop song played to Jen by Sara Ochs. The idea was to create a loosely structured groove with solos that can change depending on the players and instrumentation.

Performers: Jennifer Weir, Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Jennifer Cho, Junko Kumamoto, Kai Anderson



A piece about how stress builds up over time.

Performers: Kai Anderson, Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe



This is a piece that incorporates sections that are like “drills” and was inspired by a professional Taiko player Yuichi Kimura in Japan and Tiffany Tamaribuchi. I participated in Tiffany’s workshops twice in the past. Please enjoy watching our teamwork and seeing how women can be strong!

Performers: Cathie VanDanacker, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan, Arlene Teraoka, Emma Valentine


Sakura Sakura (cherry blossoms cherry blossoms)

Also known as “Sakura”, is one of the most popular Japanese folk song. Choreography by Junko Kumamoto, Arranged fue part by Michiko Buchanan.

Performers:  Junko Kumamoto, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan


Emi (smile)

Emi is about that one thing in your life that picks you up, motivates you, gives you reason to celebrate, brings you true bliss…makes you smile.

Performers: Heather Jeche, Cathie VanDanacker, Emma Valentine, Arlene Teraoka, Jennifer Cho


Impermanent Wind

This song is dedicated to all the people that have blown into and out of the composer’s life leaving lasting impressions.

Performers: Jeff Ellsworth, Susan Tanabe, Michiko Todokoro Buchanan


Falling Flowers

Falling Flowers is an exploration of incorporating tai chi movements into taiko performance.

Special Thanks To:  Sifu Ray Hayward, Twin Cities T’ai-Chi Ch’uan Studio

Performers: Arlene Teraoka, Cathie VanDanacker, Heather Jeche, Emma Valentine, Jennifer Cho


Summer Storm

This composition is an exploration of movement and repetition with the images of clouds rolling in.  Fue melody composed by Michiko Todokoro Buchanan.

Performers:  Mu Daiko & MTI

Mu Daiko

Jennifer Weir
Jeff Ellsworth
Heather Jeche
Susan Tanabe
Cathie VanDanacker
Michiko Todokoro Buchanan
Emma Valentine
Arlene Teraoka
Jennifer Cho (Intern)
Junko Kumamoto (MTI Taiko)
Kai Anderson (MTI Taiko)

* denotes member of Actors Equity