Composer and drummer Mayumi Shara is a uniquely cross cultural whirlwind of talent and energy, making her a well established pioneer female jazz drummer in Japan.
Mayumi’s vision combines the eloquence of Japanese traditional drums with American jazz that allows her to create musical cultural harmony. Mayumi seeks to inspire people through her love and understanding of the universal power of music which resonates deep within every human being. Her music serves to revitalize her audience’s energy through the powerful performances of her original compositions. Mayumi achieves a delicate musical fusion of East and West, all the while preserving the traditional aspects of Japanese drum expression. Here is a master of Japanese taiko drumming who is equally at home on a drum set playing modern jazz, funk, R&B, blues, and traditional jazz, all the while, equally as talented as she plays second-line snare with a New Orleans brass band. In any culture, that’s a remarkable stretch. This Tokyo native began her study of the fundamental classical rudiments with influences as varied as Motohiko Hino and Elvin Jones. The defining moment in Mayumi’s life came when she was told, “Opportunity presents itself to everyone equally. One must not only be aware of it—one must be prepared for it when it occurs in order to grasp it fully.” These words made a profound impression on Mayumi, even after her own drum teacher in Japan told her repeatedly that she could not be successful as a drummer because she was a woman. Eight years of devotion and hard work later, Mayumi had studied to improve with Japanese jazz great Motohiko Hino, studied under the master percussionist of the Tokyo Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra, had made a name for herself in the Tokyo jazz world and had gained the admiration and respect of her fellow musicians. In 1992, Mayumi joined Himiko, an all-female traditional Japanese drum group learning and playing wadaiko, and toured throughout Japan. In 1998, Mayumi moved to the United States, establishing herself in New Orleans to prepare for herself for the next professional level. In 2005, she graduated from Delgado College in New Orleans with a jazz studies major. Since then, she has been performing with many famous local New Orleans musicians such as Tuba Fats, Cyril Neville, Kermit Ruffins, Leroy Jones, Marva Wright, George Porter Jr, Little Freddie King, Big Chief Alfred Doucette, Marlon Jordan, etc. Mayumi has been the drummer for the James Rivers Movement for many years. She formed all Japanese female blues band “Pink Magnolias” in 2013. She also formed “Bluezy Pink Magnolias” with a master blues bassist Benny Turner who is a brother of late Freddie King and Eddie Van Shawn Jr. in 2014.
Mayumi has performed at many Festivals such as New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Pascagoula Blues Festival, as well as many others throughout the area.
Mayumi Shara & Made To That features Taiko drums performed at Sacred Music Festival in New Orleans, etc.
She also creates original methods of solo performance, playing the Japanese traditional drum in New Orleans, also in southern area. Overall, she plays an active role in exposing the Japanese culture to the American culture through her creative musical endeavors.