Kioto is also a taiko artist descending from an okiya (geisha house) performing arts family in Tokyo –called Toyoakimoto– with roots dating back to the Edo period. Originally studying under her father Tatsu Aoki who was born in Tokyo, Kioto is carrying on the artistic family lineage in Chicago, playing taiko, shamisen and tsuzumi in both traditional and contemporary musical contexts.

Her musical practice maintains a balance of retaining the artistic and aesthetic integrity of traditional Japanese music with a musical flexibility that extends beyond the measures of cultural preservation. Her playing is informed by the Japanese aesthetics of ma while challenging the common misinterpretation and beliefs of percussion as rhythm, and uses often stoic gestures of sonic textures, abstracted soundscapes and embodied phrasing that incorporates choreography as part of melody.

Musical projects include Experimental Sound Studio’s Sonic Pavilion Festival at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, the Soundtrack series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, The Reduction Ensemble, and the Taiko Legacy / Reduction series. Kioto also leads Tsukasa Taiko, the Japanese drumming program at Asian Improv aRts Midwest and is active within the experimental and creative music communities in Chicago and the Bay Area.

Solo album: No Traffic in Space (2021)
available from Asian Improv Records
Featured in: Best of the MIYUMI Project (2020)
available from FPE Records