In the 1970s, I went to a concert by Indian masters, Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar) and Ustad Alla Rakha (tabla). The music was incredibly beautiful and transported the audience to another realm. I had a naive thought – if the world’s leaders were there and could open their hearts to this miracle, there could be peace on earth. Of course, this was an idealistic and simple reaction but the energy and spirit of that concert never left me. I thought, if I were to pursue music, my goal would be to reach a level that has such a profound of an effect on people. Although, I haven’t reached that level, I try to make each performance better than the last. By being creative, it’s possible to improve the world. I also learned that sometimes it’s better to be quiet and listen.
In our world, we’re still fighting and half of us are living without adequate clothing, shelter, food, and basics. Those of us who have what we need and are comfortable can make their lives meaningful by sharing and helping others. Survival and comfort means little if there are so many people who are in need.
By learning from the past and preparing for the future, we can live in the present with clarity and at peace. Everyone’s life has meaning and has a distinct path. Finding your talent is elusive but everyone needs to be able to contribute their own gift. The goal is to make all of us feel good about being here. To smile and laugh. Thus includes all living and non-living beings.
In taiko (Japanese drumming), I found something I love to do. Once the decision was made to pursue this art form, I’ve spent much time trying to improve, to share, and encourage others to be creative. A never ending journey.
In life, one should choose to be happy, to be positive, to have heart, to discover your passion, to study, and improve, and give to the world. Life is short so we must make the most of it. Let positive constructive energy pass through all of us and be kind to others. Connect with the spirit world and let the energy flow…
~Kenny Endo is one of the leading artists in contemporary taiko and percussion. He is at the vanguard of this genre, continuing to pave new paths in Japanese drumming even after forty years as a career taiko artist. A performer, composer, and teacher, with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny is a consummate artist, blending taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation. He is arguably one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between classical Japanese music and his own neo-traditional, globally inspired variety.
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