Ken Koshio & Kenzoo

By JESSE BERTEL
Across the Street

Soulful and powerful beats – art forms of music intertwine to celebrate and experience the diversity of cultures. Taiko Drummer, musician and folk singer, Ken Koshio is performing at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16 and 17 at the Elks Performing Arts Center, Crystal Hall on the third floor, 117 E. Gurley St.

The theme of the show is the “Celebration of the Earth.” Since ancient times, Taiko rhythms have set the heartbeat in motion, expressing the melodies and pulse of mother earth. Taiko is a Japanese style of percussion, which combines music, movement and spirit. Koshio pushes the boundaries of Taiko through various collaborations, creating a totally authentic and unique style of music and Taiko performance art.

According to Koshio, the Celebration of Earth represents his passion to create the most rewarding experience possible and expresses the importance of our origins and overcoming adversity.

“Since life has been tough since COVID and then also this, you know, Ukraine and the Russian things in the world, but still our life is connecting each other to be here,” Koshio said. “On Feb. 19, 1942, presidential executive order 9066 was issued and they said those Japanese American people go into the camps. That kind of history is still behind us but with the music and the history of our humanity and human beings, I wanted to celebrate.”

Koshio was born in Japan and has been traveling around the world as a musician and street singer.

“Originally I’m a Japanese folk rock singer and songwriter,” Koshio said. “When I came to this country back in 1996, it reminded me more about who I am. So in 2004, I moved to Phenix from L.A. and I started to do more traditional music in public.”

In addition to his role as a musician, he also acts as an ambassador of Japan, linking his cultural roots to the rest of the world. Since moving to the Southwest, Koshio has been working with Native American artists to find common ground and collaboration with their dance, music, drumming and singing. He has toured Japan with several Native American artists to create new exchanges in this global age, acknowledging that music and art are one of the great tools to communicate between people and cultures.

In addition to the performances, Koshio will hold Taiko workshops in the Crystal Hall of the Performing Arts Center from 9  to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Workshop size will be limited to no more than 20 people for each.

For more information about Ken Koshio, visit www.kenkoshio.com. For tickets to the performances or workshops, call 928-756-2844, or visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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