The Ne-O Ensemble offers dynamic performances on the Japanese taiko (drum), fue (bamboo flute), shamisen (banjo) and koto (zither), mixed with informed explanations about the instruments and the cultural contexts in which they are used, as well as an engaging hands-on drumming opportunities for a few volunteer students and teachers. Kaoru Watanabe's Ne-O Ensemble is inspired by a wide variety of traditional Japanese music and their role within society to strengthen peoples' connection to the past. Ne-O, pronounced "neh-oh" is written in Japanese as 音緒 or literally "sound chord", expressing the desire to bind the timbres and melodies of old Japan with other music of the world in unorthodox ways. Artistic director Kaoru Watanabe was a member of the iconic Japanese taiko ensemble Kodo for close to a decade, touring extensively through Asia, North America and Europe in some of the most prestigious concert halls and theaters. Since leaving Kodo, Watanabe has been performing with a diverse array of artists from jazz pianist Jason Moran to Kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo and percussion ensemble So Percussion as well as teaching at such institutions as Princeton and Wesleyan Universities. Grades K – 12.