About ShinDaiko

ShinDaiko is a vibrant, Greater Boston-based contemporary taiko ensemble founded in 2012. Our focus and performances not only showcase the intensity, passion and history of Japanese ensemble drumming, but also incorporate other instruments and styles, both Western and Eastern. Between our six members and various guest artists, we have a wide range of experience in strings, winds, percussion, and composition.

The Japanese character “Shin” in ShinDaiko means “advancing” or “moving forward.” We seek to always be moving forward in our musical vision, to explore new ideas and concepts, and to weave the powerful sounds of taiko with other musical influences to create our own distinct melody.

Learn more about our members below.


Membership Opportunities

We are a small ensemble and do not offer taiko classes, but we do offer limited apprenticeships and oppurtunities for membership. The ideal candidate should have previous taiko and stage performance experience. Other musical background, such as in Western classical training, jazz, or Japanese or Asian strings/woodwinds is highly desireable, although not necessarily required. Prospective members should be able to read Western sheet music.

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in playing with ShinDaiko, please contact shane@shindaiko.com


Our Members


karinKarin Darakananda

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, Karin first started playing taiko as an undergraduate student at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. As a member of Wellesley Aiko, she studied under Isaku Kageyama, formerly of Amanojaku, and Mark H Rooney of Odaiko New England. She was one of the group’s co-presidents during her senior year. Karin joined ShinDaiko in fall 2014.

Outside of taiko, Karin works in the medical field. She enjoys listening to country music and Eminem, sleeping, taking long aimless walks, stair climbing, and eating lots of food.





sarasmlSara Li

Sara began playing taiko in high school, under the Concord-Carlisle High School taiko program, Taiko After Dark, led by Mark H Rooney of Odaiko New England. She attended Wellesley College and joined the university taiko group, Aiko, and served as Aiko’s artistic director. While at Aiko, she studied under both Mark H Rooney and Isaku Kageyama. In 2013, after her graduation from Wellesley, she became a member of ShinDaiko.

In addition to her taiko experience, Sara is classically trained in western flute, performing throughout New England as well as Greece and Japan. She also studied classical Chinese flute under Tai-Chun Pan and performed with the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) Chinese Music Ensemble. She has brought her flute talents to taiko in the past with her previous two taiko groups and ShinDaiko is proud to welcome her as another fue player.

Sara currently works in the financial services industry. In her free time, she dabbles in piano and pilates.


gregsmlGreg Richards

Having played guitar since he was 14, Greg went on to pursue formal music studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Berklee College of Music in Boston and trained as a jazz musician. It wasn’t until 2007 that he was introduced to taiko and began taking classes at Odaiko New England under Mark H Rooney. He played with Odaiko New England as a performing member until 2010 and became a founding member of ShinDaiko in 2012.

Besides taiko and guitar, Greg also plays bass guitar, drum kit, piano, and the shakuhachi. He has a keen interest in studio sound recording and mixing and provides much of that expertise for ShinDaiko. He also specializes in original music composition across multiple genres.

Greg’s musical influences include jazz, progressive rock and heavy metal. In his downtime, he runs, hikes, and rock climbs.



profilegerGer Tysk

Ger began her musical studies in classical piano at the age of six and classical western flute at the age of nine. She studied and performed on both instruments under various instructors in Chicago, Denver, and Houston until the age of 18. She also studied conducting and drum majoring under the legendary Drum and Bugle Corps leader George N. Parks.

She joined Odaiko New England as a student under Mark H Rooney and later Juni Kobayashi, and became an apprentice at ONE in 2011, appearing in performances around Boston with her husband Shane. In 2012, she joined ShinDaiko as a founding member and is the second of ShinDaiko’s two fue players. In 2014, she participated in Wadaiko Tokara’s taiko intensive course hosted by odaiko champion Art Lee in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.Ger is influenced by a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, opera, big band jazz, video game music, and Asian pop.

In her non-taiko life, Ger works as a writer, photographer, and sailor. She is also the author of several books on John Manjiro, one of the first Japanese to live in America.



Shane Tysk

Shane comes from a family of drummers, including his mother and two brothers and has been playing percussion for almost 25 years. He joined his high school marching band and drum line and from there branched out to a wide variety of percussion instruments, including drum set and later, taiko. He joined Odaiko New England in 2007 and studied with Mark H Rooney, later becoming a performing member of ONE until 2012, when he joined ShinDaiko as a founding member. He also was a member of the 2008 taiko residency program hosted by the Japanese taiko group Shidara, based in Aichi prefecture, Japan.

Along with Tanya, Shane also provides the bulk of ShinDaiko’s drum-building experience. He is avidly interested in both traditional and new methods of taiko drum building and finds it important to document the drum-building process to share this knowledge with the greater taiko community. Besides drums themselves, Shane also makes a wide variety of bachi and drum stands.

By day, Shane works as a physicist and in the evenings can be found writing out new drills for ShinDaiko’s practice sessions. Besides taiko, he is also a big fan of quality beer and an avid homebrewer.


photo_placeholderTori Willbanks-Roos

Tori Willbanks-Roos is a Chinese adoptee hailing from the Boston area. She played taiko in college for 3 years with Oberlin College Taiko and also interned with The Genki Spark, an all Asian women’s taiko group in Boston, from 2015-2017. She joined ShinDaiko in 2017 and currently is also a Genki Spark member in training.

Taiko came into Tori’s life at a particularly rough time, and gave her the empowerment to find her voice as an adoptee, Asian American woman, and survivor. In college, she also dabbled in traditional Chinese Lion Dance, as another way of exploring her cultural identity. She has attended multiple taiko conferences, including the East Coast Taiko Conference and the European Taiko Conference, and deeply enjoys finding community with fellow taiko players.

Tori has played the classical violin for 16 years, though now she just fiddles around for fun. She is also really into social justice, cheese, stuffed animals, cheese, arts and crafts, and cheese.



photo_placeholderRie Hayashi

Rie was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. She began her taiko journey in 2008 in Houston, Texas with Kaminari Taiko and Eisa (Okinawan drumming and dance) with Ryukyukoku Matsuridaiko. She moved to California and became a member of Togen Daiko, based in Oxnard, in 2015. She was also a founding member of Ojai Odaiko, in Ojai, California.

Rie most treasures the culture and passions that are shared through the art of Japanese drumming. She plays taiko so that the energy and spirit in the drummers can be transferred to others.

Outside of taiko, Rie enjoys spending time with her family and miniature schnauzer, hiking, kickboxing, and interior design and art.



Amelia Varteresian

Amelia is a native to the greater Boston area, and found taiko as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut. A pastime that was initially used to de-stress from difficult classes, she remained active with UConn Taiko for three years, and occasionally returns as an alumni member. During her time with UConn Taiko she was able to study under Isaku Kageyama, formerly of Amanojaku and an instructor for Wellesley Aiko.

After graduation, Amelia joined Odaiko New England as an apprentice in 2015. She joined ShinDaiko in 2017.

In her spare time, Amelia is an ambitious seamstress, avid book worm and outstanding TV-watcher.





Former Members

tanyasmlTanya Downer

Tanya began playing taiko with Odaiko New England in 2007 under the direction of Mark H Rooney. She is a founding member of ShinDaiko and has studied with taiko masters including Kenny Endo, Kris Bergstrom, Masato Baba, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Ryo Shimamoto, and Kaoru Watanabe. She was a participant in Kodo’s 2010 KasaMix tour to Sado Island, Japan.

Tanya now splits her time between Honolulu, Hawaii and the Washington, D.C. area. While in Hawaii, she plays with Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble, and in D.C. she performs as a guest artist with our former teacher Mark H Rooney.




shuwenShuWen Zhang

ShuWen grew up in Shizuoka, Japan, and Shanghai, China. She began playing taiko with the University of Southern California’s collegiate group, Kazan Taiko, before joining ShinDaiko. In addition to her taiko experience, she has played classical piano since the age of five.

ShuWen currently resides in Chicago as a graduate student at the University of Chicago.







2 Responses so far.

  1. Roy says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you knew of a place where I could buy a large taiko drum (at least 19″). Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    Best wishes with your school,


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