Taiko has always held a special place in Yuko Nozoe’s heart. One of her first memories is the sound of the taiko being played at the summer festival in her mother’s hometown in Japan, when she visited when she was 3 years old. Since then, she has pursued her interests in music and Japanese culture with fervour – she studies piano and violin starting with Yuriko Horie in Toronto, played trombone in school ensembles, attended Saturday morning Japanese school, studied karate and kendo, played in community youth orchestras and all of the school ensembles that would take her, and earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Queen’s University. It was only a matter of time before she finally started taking classes with Yakudo Traditional Japanese Drummers in Toronto ON. It was love at first hit. She learned and performed with them for the next ten years, before she travelled to Japan to further her studies at the Kodo Cultural Foundation Apprentice Centre. She has since studies, instructed and collaborated with many groups in Japan, Canada and the USA. Once she arrived in Winnipeg, she promptly visited JCAM to see about getting involved with the Japanese Canadian community, where she was introduced to Hinode Taiko. That same year, she was a driving force behind the group’s 35th anniversary concert. And now, she is excited to continue to share the skills and knowledge acquired through her long and varied career as Hinode’s new artistic director.