kenny endo (silhouette)ALISO VIEJO — Soka Performing Arts Center, 1 University Dr. in Aliso Viejo, presents the Kenny Endo Ensemble’s 40th Anniversary Tour on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m.

One of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm, Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of the taiko genre, continuing to lead the way in this Japanese style of drumming as he marks his 40th year of performing and touring. As a jazz percussionist and early innovator in Japanese drumming, his adventurous spirit stretches the taiko genre, incorporating influences like funk, jazz, Afro-Cuban and Hawaiian, with roots firmly grounded in tradition.

He has received numerous awards and accolades, including special recognition in Japan — he was the first foreigner to be honored with a “natori,” a stage name, in Japanese classical drumming.

For his 40th anniversary, he tours with his contemporary ensemble, mixing taiko and Japanese flute with Western instruments, and featuring special guest artists from Japan and the U.S. in his unique style that carries the traditions of taiko into this century. Endo will be joined by Kaoru Watanabe on Japanese bamboo flutes (nohkan, ryuteki, shinobue), Western flute and taiko; Abe Lagrimas Jr. on ukulele, vibraphone and drums; Shoko Hikage on koto; Chizuko Endo on taiko and percussion.

Tickets are $39 general, $29 for students and seniors (62 and over). For more information, call (949) 480-4278, email or visit

Come early for dinner. Soka Bistro will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. Only $11.25 for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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