Odaiko New England
Odaiko New England (ONE) was formed in 1994 and is one of the premier taiko groups on the East Coast. By combining Japanese aesthetic sensibility with the American spirit, ONE has forged its own distinctive style and voice.
In Japan the sounds of taiko are infused into various aspects of daily life. From Shinto and Buddhist rituals to celebratory festivals, taiko is said to be the voice and spirit of the Japanese. Its rhythms reflect the sounds of nature, the changing of the seasons, a mother’s heartbeat. The sound of taiko is palpable and its language is universal. It speaks across boundaries of race, class, culture, and religion, and appeals to people of all ages and gender.
Brought together by a common love of taiko, the members and supporters of Odaiko New England reflect the diversity of New England, united to share taiko with as many people as possible.
Note: Online program available for remote learning.
Elaine Fong has over thirty five years of percussion and movement experience. She has performed with several taiko groups, and founded Odaiko New England, the first taiko (Japanese drum) group in Massachusetts. Ms. Fong has worked across disciplines, composing taiko and percussion scores for film, dance, and theater. Most recently with Danza Organica. Elaine N. Fong is also a certified Taketina rhythmic movement facilitator. Ms. Fong received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She has not-for-profit administrative experience and has also worked in the public and private sector. Ms. Fong has served on several boards including the YWCA of Boston, Odaiko New England, and Rhythmix Cultural Works.
Junko "Juni" Kobayashi
Born in New York and raised in New Jersey and Tokyo, Junko began her musical studies at age 5, first on classical piano under the tutelage of Alexander Alexay, and then branched out to percussion at age 10. Junko’s primary teachers have been former Principal Percussionist of the New York Philharmonic, Walter Rosenberger, Dr. Walter Schneider, and Professor Thomas Siwe. Junko holds a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree from the University of Illinois, School of Music where she was the recipient of the Talented Undergraduate Award, the Edgar Varese Award and the Presser Scholar Award.
Junko discovered Odaiko New England at First Night Boston 2000 and started learning taiko with Odaiko New England founder and the then artistic director, Elaine Fong. Later Junko studied with Mark H. Rooney and many other taiko artists such as Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Kenny Endo, KODO members Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Eiichi Saito, Chieko Kojima, Yoko Fujimoto, and Kaoru Watanabe.
Junko performs and teaches taiko regularly throughout New England and has also toured internationally with the NY-based taiko group Taikoza under the artistic direction of Marco Lienhard.
Junko has also had a long career as a sound designer for musical instrument manufacturers including Alesis, SoniVOX, Young Chang, Kurzweil Music Systems, and Hammond-Suzuki. She continues working as a sound design consultant.