Taku Hirano’s career as a professional percussionist is on the fast track and has been called a phenomenon by both his peers and the artists that he has worked for. With only seven years on the professional music scene (after graduating with honors as one of the first Hand Percussion majors from the prestigious Berklee College of Music), Taku has become one of the top-call percussionists on the touring and recording circuit.
At 31 years old, Takuya has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, and Tevin Campbell, and has also performed with Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, The Backstreet Boys, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Brandy, The Neville Brothers, Wyclef Jean, Faith Evans, Teena Marie, Sheila E., The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Oleta Adams, Angie Stone, Patrice Rushen, The Boys Choir of Harlem, and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Company.
Taku Hirano has recorded with Oscar, Grammy, and American Music Award-winning artists as diverse as Fleetwood Mac, Dr. Dre, Whitney Houston, The Temptations, and Lionel Richie, in addition to working on numerous major motion picture scores and soundtracks. Several of these albums and movie scores have won Grammy and Emmy awards.
He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Dateline, Extra, The View, Access Hollywood, Good Day Live, The Wayne Brady Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Grammy Awards, The American Music Awards, MTV Unplugged, MTV Europe Video Music Awards, MTV All Access: Whitney Houston, VH-1 All Access: Fleetwood Mac, Soul Train, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, and on AOL.com. Apart from the pop music genre, Taku has also performed with notable jazz and jazz-fusion artists such as Gary Burton, Joe Zawinul, Jonathan Butler, Tom Scott, Bennie Maupin, and Rick Braun, as well as gospel artists, Yolanda Adams, Bebe Winans, and Cece Winans.
Taku Hirano is well versed in the most current studio and live-performance electronic equipment. Though this is a rarity among many percussionists, it is something that he feels is a necessity for today’s musicians in order to convincingly recreate an artists’ recorded material in a live-performance situation. In addition to this, he has studied intensively since the age of nine in Classical percussion and drumset, studying with the principal timpanist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and with some of the top-call session drummers and percussionists in Los Angeles.
Since his mid-teens, he has studied the traditional secular and sacred percussion styles of Cuba, Brazil, West Africa, The Middle East, and India, going as far as studying under master percussionists from Cuba, Northern (Hindustani) and Southern (Karnatak) India, and Ghana (Dagbamba and Ewe styles), enrolling in a graduate studies program in World Music performance at California Institute of the Arts, and attending the Escuela Nacional de Artes (National School of the Arts) in Havana, Cuba. He also received his Bachelor of Music degree cum laude as one of the prestigious Berklee College of Music’s first hand percussion principals.
The combination of his background, experience, and work ethic makes Taku Hirano a unique percussionist who delivers consistently and professionally.
The show Taku performed with Lindsey Buckingham on the PBS show Soundstage was released on DVD November 8, 2005. The show was shot in the summer of 2004, during the Fleetwood Mac tour and it's in high-definition and true digital surround-sound. Says Taku: "An interesting thing to note is that the band is only comprised of Lindsey (guitar, vocals), Brett Tuggle (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Neale Heywood (guitar, vocals), and me. That meant that I had to do some creative multi-tasking, covering both percussion and drum parts, which I did thanks to some inconspicuous gear from Roland. I'm definitely proud of this performance, as it took me out of my comfort zone of being behind a huge percussion rig and forced me to play just hand-held instruments—a cajon, one cymbal, and a Roland SPD-20 with a foot pedal. Plus it was my professional "drumming" debut!"