We are so excited to have Melody Takata join the ACTA staff as Program Manager!
Melody is the founder of GenRyu Arts, a taiko and odori school in San Francisco, as well as the Festival Director of Japan Week, a summer cultural festival in San Francisco Japantown. She is a multi-faceted artist trained in Japanese classical dance, taiko, and shamisen, a Japanese string instrument. She has studied with master artist Madame Fujima Kansuma since childhood, and received her Natori (dance degree) as an adult. Melody also earned her shamisen degree with the Kineya School when she was 13 years old. She became a member of Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko Aiko Kai as a teenager, and at age 20 Melody traveled to Tokyo to study and perform with Seido Kobayashi’s group O Edo Sukeroku Taiko one of Japan’s most highly renowned taiko ensembles. Melody has also pursued interdisciplinary work collaborating with jazz artists, poets, contemporary dance, and film for the last 20 years performing for over 35 years in Japan and U.S.A.
Melody has been part of the ACTA family for many years, since taking part in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2003 under the mentorship of shamisen master artist Hideko Nakajima (1935 – 2019). Melody joins ACTA’s San Francisco office to manage our new Sankofa Fund grant program.
“I participated in ACTA’s roundtable discussions— I was amazed how many communities’ cultural artists like myself experience the same struggles and beauty as cultural practitioners. I believe that ACTA provided a place to convene and deepen the dialogue as cultural artists and that ACTA answers the call of urgency to support these artists who do so much to maintain community well-being and grounding, especially during this time in history.”