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  • Writer's pictureWoody Moran

Taku Hirano – Namba Gear Featured Artist

Taku Hirano (percussionist, producer)

CITY: New York, NY

FAVORITE MUSIC SOFTWARE: Reason, Ableton Live, and Pro-Tools

Born in Osaka, Japan, and raised in California, Taku Hirano is one of the top-call percussionists on the touring and recording circuit.

Taku has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Utada Hikaru, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, and Lindsey Buckingham. He has also performed with Stevie Wonder, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, LeAnn Rimes, Patti Labelle, Barry Manilow, Kenny Loggins, Chaka Khan, Brandy, The Neville Brothers, Wyclef Jean, Don Henley, and Sheila E., with notable jazz, jazz-fusion, and contemporary-jazz artists such as Gary Burton, Joe Zawinul, Jonathan Butler, Tom Scott, and Bennie Maupin, with gospel artists, Yolanda Adams, Bebe Winans, and Cece Winans., and with international artists such as Indian film composer A.R. Rahman (Oscar winner, Slumdog Millionaire), Japanese New Age pioneer Kitaro, Italian vocal icon Giorgia, Korean Classical group The Ahn Trio, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

He has recorded with artists as diverse as Dr. Dre, Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, The Temptations, Nelly Furtado, Jay-Z, Jason Mraz, Stevie Nicks, and Lionel Richie, in addition to working on numerous major motion picture and television scores and soundtracks. He also acted as a consultant for Trent Reznor for Nine Inch Nails’ “Lights In The Sky- Over North America 2008” tour.

As half of the production team/duo Tao of Sound, he has worked as a producer, remixer, programmer, and performer for Tao of Sound recordings, commercial sound libraries for Big Fish Audio, and remixes for artists as such as Kanye West and Kitaro. Their album, “Metro,” was released by Domo Records in summer 2010.

Recent endeavors including television appearances with Shakira, concerts with Stevie Nicks, and joining Oscar/Grammy-winning composer, A.R. Rahman on his “Jai Ho: The Journey Home” World Tour. In addition to this, Taku continues to be a monthly columnist for DRUM! Magazine and was named “Best Rock/Pop Percussionist” in their annual reader’s poll for a second year in a row.


Taku is currently on tour with Academy Award-winning composer, A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”) on his “Jai Ho: The Journey Home” World Tour, as well as doing North American dates with Stevie Nicks. Other performances in 2010 include wrapping a two-year stint with Bette Midler in her Las Vegas show, “The Showgirl Must Go On,” a U.S./U.K. tour with Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru, promo dates with Shakira and work with Dave Stewart, of the Eurhythmics.

He also recently released the album “METRO” through his production duo/band, Tao of Sound, on Domo Records. This album also features guest appearances by Grammy Award-winning New Age pioneer, Kitaro, and Sony BMG Classical artists, The Ahn Trio. Over the past year, Tao of Sound has done remixes for Kanye West, as well as sample libraries for Big Fish Audio.


I love the portability of my Namba Lil’ Remix bag. By the end of 2010, it will have traveled all over the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, U.K., Germany, Switzerland, France, South Africa, and Southeast Asia. Everything I carry on the road with me (laptop, hard drives, cables, notebooks, flash drives, pens/pencils, studio headphones, in-ear monitors, digital camera, passport wallet, VIA instant coffee packs, Band-Aids, magazines, books, etc.) has a place.

People actually are astounded by how heavy and solid it is because I’m able to pack so much into it. But with the chest and waist strap, it’s so evenly balanced that it’s easy traversing airport terminals, train stations, and tour buses with it on my back.


The place I find myself most often programming is in the hotel room, although sometimes on the airplane. In terms of recording live percussion, I usually am at a proper recording studio… whether that is at Tao of Sound’s studio in Los Angeles, or in a remote location from the road.

I also am half of Queensberry Media, based in NYC and Washington D.C. Whereas Tao of Sound is a production duo specialized in doing remixes, sample libraries, and an artist duo in its own right signed to Domo Records, Queensberry Media specializes in music for multimedia, encompassing everything from commercials and websites, to producing recordings for artists or sound production/music composition for live events (ranging from speaking engagements to awards shows and conventions).

The most recent event Queensberry Media handled was creating music as well as producing the live audio for the ACT-SO awards ceremony at the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, MO.

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