Taku Hirano, one of the top percussionists on the touring and recording circuit, has been referred to by rock legend Mick Fleetwood, founder and drummer for Fleetwood Mac, as his “Secret Weapon” for good reason. His training encompasses Classical concert percussion, jazz drum set, and traditional Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, West African, Middle Eastern, Indian and Japanese styles and instruments.
This includes a BM cum laude from Berklee College of Music as the institution’s first graduating Hand Percussion degree major, four years under the tutelage of conga master Giovanni Hidalgo, four years of Middle Eastern percussion studies under world fusion percussionist Jamey Haddad, studies with frame drumming virtuoso Glen Velez, graduate studies in World Music Performance at California Institute of the Arts studying West African and Indian percussion, time spent with Tokyo’s leading taiko drumming dojo through the Nippon Taiko Foundation, research in Havana, Cuba studying for a month both privately with percussion legend Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana and at the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte – ENA, and formative years spent under the guidance of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra principal timpanist Kristan Phillips, jazz drumming legend Alan Dawson and world-renowned pop, funk and jazz drummer Ndugu Chancler.
Taku’s client list of luminaries spans practically every genre. He has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, John Mayer, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru, as a soloist on Japanese and Indian percussion with Academy Award-winning Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), and as a featured soloist on the #7 top-grossing concert tour of all time, Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour.
Taku’s live performance credits also include Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Steven Tyler, Miley Cyrus, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Josh Groban, John Legend, LeAnn Rimes, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Joe Zawinul, Chaka Khan, Babyface, Don Henley, John Fogerty, Sam Moore, Peter Frampton, Ne-Yo, Barry Manilow, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Andrea Bocelli, Juanes, George Duke, Yolanda Adams, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Blue Man Group and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
He has performed in major arenas and stadiums in 30 countries across five continents, twice for President Nelson Mandela, and twice at the White House for President Barack Obama including the administration’s first State dinner, honoring His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.
Taku has recorded with Dr. Dre (on the seminal 2001 album), Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Jay Z, The Temptations, Nelly Furtado, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley, Jason Mraz, Josh Groban, Chromeo, and Lionel Richie, in addition to numerous major motion picture scores and soundtracks, television shows, and national commercials. He also acted as a consultant to Trent Reznor for the Nine Inch Nails “Lights In The Sky” world tour.
Taku is a regular contributor to DRUM! Magazine, the only percussionist on Modern Drummer Magazine’s MD Pro Panel, was an instructor at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC, and has taught master classes at NYU, Carnegie Mellon University and Loyola University New Orleans College of Music + Fine Arts. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Berklee College of Music. In addition to this, Taku has been featured in national campaigns for Guitar Center, and was included in ORIGIN Magazine’s list of Top 100 Creatives.
As a recording artist, Taku’s group Tao Of Sound has released three LPs on the Japanese label Domo Records.
Upcoming television appearances include the GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends show (PBS; airing October 2019), where Taku backed up Garth Brooks, Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin, Gregory Porter, Valerie Simpson, Sam Moore, Kenny Lattimore, Lalah Hathaway, Sheila E, Bootsy Collins, Snoop Dogg and George Clinton.
Taku is currently the percussionist for Fleetwood Mac on the “An Evening With Fleetwood Mac” world tour. In January 2019, Taku signed to Vater Drumsticks and debuted his signature drumstick, the “KATANA.”
” I love this guy! “
“A personal treat as a drummer… Not only an incredible musician, but a master percussionist…”
“135 Fleetwood Mac shows and never missed a beat. The best percussion player, I think, in the world.“
“Seeing Taku pounce on the conga, tap the cow-bell, wave his tambourine, and synthesize through his laptop, simultaneously, had me questioning why I still did not know how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Okay, I kid, but it is that type of impression that leaves you both in awe and challenged by Taku’s talent, in the best way…
Taku brought dance, talent, and an artful sophistication to what it means to be an instrumentalist. Sure Taku is used to being in the background for other artists, but that night, he was phenomenally in the forefront for his own artistry.”
Diandra Reviews It All