The evening of Saturday, July 26, on a sports field at the at the base of majestic Mt. Shasta, the 4th annual ShastaYama Festival will feature the booming rhythms and vivid colors of Japanese drumming, dance, and music.

In the alpine beauty of Mount Shasta a cultural phenomenon has taken hold.  Taiko – Japanese drumming – is gaining popularity worldwide and has found its way to the town named after 14,162 foot Mt. Shasta. 
Twenty-three years ago, musicians Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer founded Shasta Taiko, and their taiko program has had a direct impact on the development of American Taiko. 
The evening of Saturday, July 26, on a sports field at the at the base of majestic Mt. Shasta, the 4th annual ShastaYama Festival will feature the booming rhythms and vivid colors of Japanese drumming, dance, and music. 
Last year’s festival attracted an audience of over 1,000. This year, Shasta Taiko, led by Baba and Mercer, will be joined by featured guest artists ShastaYama’s featured guest artists are the ground-breaking ON Ensemble from Los Angeles and taiko and dance artist Michelle Fujii.
Preceding the 7:30 p.m. main show, the audience will be entertained by popular area groups Kazango Jazz and Allison & Victor.
Food and refreshments will be available from Sengthong’s, Wild Thyme Café, Red’s Cajun Cooking, Brown Trout Café, Food Arts, and others. 
On Ensemble
ON Ensemble members Masato Baba – the son of Russel and Jeanne – and Shoji Kameda started taiko training as children with Shasta Taiko.
Both are now regarded as among the most respected taiko artists and composers in America.
They’ve teamed with Kristofer Bergstrom and Kelvin Underwood to create ON Ensemble’s blend of taiko, percussion, flute, drum kit, koto, and throat singing.
On Ensemble’s sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived,” and Modern Drummer Magazine calls them “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.” 
Former ON member Michelle Fujii is known for her fusion of taiko and dance and is a leader in the American taiko movement.
All have studied traditional performing arts in Japan. 
Shasta Taiko, according to the Anchorage Daily News “pushed the bounds of traditional music, bringing a new creativity that will carry taiko into the next generation... fashioning a new cultural and artistic tradition.”
“Organizing ShastaYama takes a lot of time and energy,” says Russel Baba, “but the precious wonderful hours of the Festival are magical, making it worth the effort. The audience, artists, and all involved are inspired and moved by ShastaYama. I believe anyone who experiences ShastaYama will want to come again. Jeanne and I recognize a special treasure is here to nurture and grow.” 
Jeanne adds, “There are many who contribute to the success of ShastaYama, and we are grateful to Mario Rubino and Shasta Mountain Playhouse, Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Shasta Recreation District, area businesses, and family and friends for their support over the years.”
ShastaYama 2008 will be held at Shastice Park (Rockfellow & Adams Drive) in Mount Shasta at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 26.
Tickets are $20 (age 13 & up), $15 (age 5 to 12), or free for ages 4 and under. Tickets may be purchased at Village Books and at Soul Connections in Mount Shasta, Bogbeans Books and Music in Redding, the Yreka Chamber of Commerce, and at the gate.  For credit card card purchases call 800-926-4865 X 203 or go online at www.shastayama.org. 
The gate will open at 5:30 for the pre-concert show and food sales.
Concert-goers are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating on the grass, and warm clothes and flashlights for after sunset. 
For more information, call 530-859-8686 or check out www.shastayama.org.