Cast biographies

Chieko Kojima (Japanese dance, Taiko drums)

Born in Iwafune, Tochigi-prefecture, Chieko joined Ondekoza in 1976 and thus began her encounter with folk dancing. Since the formation of Kodo, Chieko has carved out a niche for herself as one of the few regularly performing female members of Kodo.

She is noted for the original style of her dancing and her 'Hachijo' style of drumming - unique in the world of Taiko beacuse of its distinctly feminie nature. She also performs as a member of the three female voice and dance ensemble, 'Hanayui' as well as in her own solo performance series 'Yikiai'.

Taiko Meantime (Taiko drums and percussion)

Taiko Meantime strike at the heart of Taiko drumming's magic: an enthralling show combining traditional Japanese rhythms and techniques with eclectic, original compositions, enticing their audience to follow them on a musical journey.

Taiko Meantime was founded in Greenwich in 2001 with generous support from the Japan2001 festival. Their aim is to provide an enlightening musical experience using taiko drums in original compositions.

Performances of note include a project with Hana-Yui (of Kodo) in 2004 and appearances on both BBC (Family Prom in the Park 2005) and Channel 4 (How Music Works 2006). They toured extensively with the Henri Oguike Dance Company (2005-2008), performing "Second Signal", a critically acclaimed project melding taiko and contemporary dance.

Taiko Meantime returned to Japan in 2010 to perform concerts in Wakayama and participated in high-profile events at both the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. 2015 saw their most ambitious collaboration yet: 'Dojoji' with Kodo's Chieko Kojima.

Clive Bell (Japanese flutes)

Clive Bell is a musician, composer and writer with a specialist interest in the shakuhachi, khene (Thai mouth organ) and other East Asian wind instruments.

He has travelled extensively in Japan (where he studied shakuhachi with the master Kohachiro Miyata), Thailand, Laos and Bali, researching music and meeting local practitioners.

In 2011 he played with Jah Wobble at Ronnie Scott's and the Glastonbury Festival. Clive is the shakuhachi player on Karl Jenkins's album Requiem on EMI Classics, and the final two Harry Potter movies. His shakuhachi playing was featured in a live solo session on Radio 3's Late Junction, and in 2013 on Radio 3's In Tune.

Clive Bell has a substantial recording history as both a solo artist (his solo album, Shakuhachi: The Japanese Flute was re-issued in 2005 by ARC Records) and as a composer for film, TV and theatrical productions (Complicite, IOU, Whalley Range Allstars). Kazuko Hohki, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, David Sylvian, David Toop, Jochen Irmler of Faust and Bill Laswell number among Clive Bell's collaborators. Based in London, he writes regularly for the music monthly The Wire.

Hibiki Ichikawa

Hibiki Ichikawa is the only professional player of tsugaru shamisen in the U.K. In 2015, Hibiki qualified to perform under the "Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa", granted only to small number of artists. He is now officially recognised as a world-leading talent of the tsugaru shamisen.

Shunjo Ono

We are honoured to have Shunko Ono, the head monk from Dojoji Temple in Wakayama, Japan, giving pre-show talks about the legend of Dojoji and narrating the performance.