Don Kon Ten Shan

Don Kon Ten Shan – An Evening of Original Japanese Music

Don Kon Ten Shan – syllables used to describe the sounds of the koto and taiko.

Brisbane based Don Kon Ten Shan formed in 2015, combining classical Japanese music using traditional instruments such as koto (Japanese harp), taiko (drums), shamisen (banjo) shinobue (flute) and narimono (percussion), with western music. Expressing a theme of harmony in music, to show how the traditional sounds of Japan can be balanced with western instruments and contemporary performance practices, utilising technological developments. Don Kon Ten Shan will be playing the Old Courthouse Theatre in Townsville on Wednesday September the 7th.

Recent performances include the Bris Asia festival, Wa-Gakki Brisbane city hall concert series and a tour of the Townsville region, for a series of club performances and workshops.
Don Kon Ten Shan have been active in developing a Japanese Music school program consisting of workshops and performances to expand students cultural interests and enable them to use their language skills in a practical setting.

Takako Nishibori was born in Otsu, Shiga Japan. She started playing the koto at the age of six. Takako studied the Koto with Grand Master Shizu Fujino (a student of Michio Miyagi) from Ikuta Ryu Miyagi school. She commenced her studies of the shamisen, at the age of 16. In 2000, Takako received her teaching license from the Miyagi school of Tokyo. She was placed in the top ten for all of Japan.

Takako’s first visit to Australia was in 2001. During this time, she performed for various schools in NSW and ACT and began to explore new ways of playing the koto. After returning to Japan, Takako moved to Newcastle in order to commence a Masters of Educational Studies. She moved to Brisbane in 2005. Recent tours have included North Qld (BEMAC Ethno on the Road) and Japan. Takako is also on staff at the University of Queensland as a sessional academic.

Phill Wilson has been a consultant and composer for Deep Blue Orchestra (Winners of the 2009 APACA Drover Award), on staff at QUT as a sessional academic. He has performed at festivals such as Livid, Big Day out, Soundwave, Falls, Vans Warped (Australia) Melkweg (Europe) Hue (Vietnam) as well as touring Australia, Japan and Europe. Recent tours have included France, Malaysia and Vietnam – while works have been performed at the 2010 world expo, Shanghai; 2012 Lantern Festival, Taiwan; as well as India, Indonesia and Thailand. He was
a finalist in the 2005 Oz Music awards (classical) and received a star on the Brisbane city Brunswick Street rock’n’roll walk of fame 2008. Phill also works as a sound engineer. Recent projects include tracking for the video game Grand theft Auto V and mastering Aria winner Regurgitator’s Nothing but a cheap imitation.

Takako and Phill formed the koto/guitar group Gen in 2012.

Chie Kajiwara comes from Kanagawa Japan, just south of Tokyo. She started learning piano, voice, drums and wind instruments from a young age. Chie was also involved in dancing and performed for several years in and around Tokyo, this experience proved extremely valuable and relevant within taiko. After moving to Australia, Chie become one of the original members of Gold Coast taiko group “Kizuna” before forming Toko-ton with Steve. Chie also teaches weekly taiko classes and runs regular public taiko workshops.

Steve Mason’s musical journey started with experimental electronic music production back in the late 1990s. He moved to Japan in 2006, performing as a DJ around Tokyo. Steve’s passion for Japanese culture and percussion based music has continued, since his return to Australia. In 2009, Steve became an original member of Kizuna where, along with Chie, he performed at iconic events such as Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland Multicultural Festival and interstate festivals. In 2012, Steve left Kizuna to form Toko-ton with Chie.

Since forming Toko-ton, Chie and Steve have performed at countless events in many of Brisbane’s top locations, including Suncorp Stadium, GOMA, City Hall, QPAC plus multicultural festivals, public, private and corporate events all over Queensland, interstate. Steve and Chie have learned under some of the worlds most respected and distinguished Japanese taiko masters both in Japan and Australia.

Don Kon Ten Shan will be playing the Old Courthouse Theatre in Townsville on Wednesday September the 7th. Tickets available at http//www.trybooking.com/MMAC

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