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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Taiko Teens: Erin Ito (left) and Crissy Sato of San Jose Taiko

Start Young, Drum Long:
High schoolers rock at Rumble in the Ballroom

WHEN YOU WATCH San Jose Taiko on Friday at Metro's big Rumble in the Ballroom benefit concert with Skankin' Pickle and Jupiter Sun (see Calendar on page 46 for details), you may notice two new faces amid the blur of taiko activity. They belong to Cristine Sato and Erin Ito. The duo are high school seniors who graduated from the San Jose Junior Taiko ranks to make it to the concert stage. "It was a big change," says Sato. "I took off for two and a half years. When I came back, I was in the advanced class, and then the next year, I was in concert. I didn't know a lot of the songs. It was really frustrating, because I wanted to do so much better. It was pretty hard for me, but everybody made it so much easier. It's like that now. I always need help."

"Oh, no, you don't," interrupts Ito. "She is so good."

Both were exposed to taiko through Suzume No Gakko, a Japanese school for children at Wesley Methodist Church. San Jose Junior Taiko would play there and recruit ambitious drummers. "I started because my sister did it," Ito explains. "Before, I was playing piano, but I liked taiko better. They made it a lot of fun. You had friends there, and it's become a second home for me. It made me feel really secure. I could leave all my problems outside, no matter where I am, soon as I walk in the door."

Sato and Ito are as smart (both have 3.9 GPAs) as they are talented. They're off to college next fall--Sato at Pepperdine, Ito at UC San Diego--to study communications and medicine, respectively. They'll be back for the summer--performing, working on their own pieces, and hanging around the office. "All the elements to Taiko is something everyone can use," Ito said. "It helps me every day in getting by. I see Taiko as discipline and respect, an attitude. When all the elements come together, it's a perfect way to live your life."

Set Your VCR

Busy month for Stone Fox guitarist Janis Tanaka. That cool independent film she stars in gets its national premiere as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on KQED (Ch. 9) on Friday (May 17) at 9pm. The film, The Year of My Japanese Cousin, examines the life of an aspiring Seattle musician--7 Year Bitch's Selene Vigil--whose visiting cousin (Tanaka) diverts attention away from her. The film is the work of Maria Gargulio, sister of Fastbacks guitarist Lulu Gargulio--who was a camera operator on the project. Year is loaded with music by some of the Northwest's best: Gashuffer, Supersuckers, Fastbacks. And to complicate Tanaka's life further, Stone Fox's self-titled second release, and the first for Linda Perry's Rockstar Records, is now out in the stores.

More Nostalgia

Ex-F/X entrepreneur Fil Maresca is expanding his résumé, bringing his milk crates full of '80s new wave albums to Agenda's Speakeasy club on Friday nights. He's yet to come up with a suitable DJ tag (DJ Filly Fil? Chill Fil?), so any suggestions are welcome. ... I got a few plugs for band Web sites last week: Island Riddim Band; Korea Girl; and Soup.

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From the May 16-22, 1996 issue of Metro

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