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 with honors 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, Middle Eastern percussion studies under world fusion percussionist Jamey Haddad and 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 Music Foundation, studies in Havana, Cuba both privately with percussion legend Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana and through research at the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte - ENA (now known as Instituto Superior de Arte - ISA), and formative years spent under the guidance of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra principal timpanist Kristan Phillips, jazz drumming legend Alan Dawson and jazz fusion/pop drumming guru 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 Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Steven Tyler, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Josh Groban, John Legend, LeAnn Rimes, Sheryl Crow, 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 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 on three separate occasions 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, 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 Modern Drummer and DRUM! magazines, was an instructor at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, has taught master classes and seminars at NYU, University of Missouri, Los Angeles College of Music and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), and has been an artist-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon University and Berklee College of Music. He 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 (Domo Records) has released three LPs, most recently with their album "These Times" (released in May 2016). Recent tour dates include North American festivals with Dr. John, and North American and UK tours with stage and screen icon Bette Midler for her 2015 “Divine Intervention” World Tour. Upcoming television appearances include Steve Harvey and FOX's re-launching of Showtime At The Apollo.
" I love this guy! "
- Lionel Richie
"My 'Secret Weapon.' "
- Mick Fleetwood
"135 Fleetwood Mac shows and never missed a beat. The best percussion player, I think, in the world."
- Stevie Nicks