Artist Website: www.shastayama.org
Jeanne Aiko Mercer and Russel Baba founded Shasta Taiko in 1985, dedicated to the teaching of the art, discipline, and philosophy of taiko.
Mercer started taiko training with Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka in 1972 and toured the world performing with San Francisco Taiko Dojo for over 10 years. Jeanne has also collaborated with American taiko artists Kenny Endo, San Jose Taiko, and On Ensemble.
Russel and Jeanne established an annual taiko/music presentation, “Shasta Taiko in Concert” in 1996. In 2005, the annual show successfully expanded to a festival outdoors at Mt. Shasta’s Shastice Park and was renamed “ShastaYama”.
Shasta Taiko’s program has developed individuals who are emerging as exceptional artists, teachers, and leaders themselves. Russel Baba has influenced and inspired his peers as well as the next generation artists and is a recognized pioneer in Asian American jazz and American taiko.
Jeanne Mercer has performed and recorded taiko at various jazz venues with Russel and other artists such as drummers Art Blakey and Eddie Moore, violinist Michael White, and pianist Andrew Hill.
Mercer has also contributed to film soundtracks most notably – “Apocalypse Now” and “Star Wars.” Jeanne is featured with Masato Baba in Russel Baba’s recordings “Hisashi,” “Tadaima,” and “KorewaKorewa.”