OUR TEAM
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Nitay Zelinker, founder of Taiko Life Israel

Nitay had a passion for music and martial arts from a young age. After combat service in the IDF, he traveled to India to study meditation in an intensive course in Pune, with Master Dolano.

 

To deepen his knowledge and connection to nature, Nitay joined an instructor’s course of the "Garden Guards Organization" and continued to play and practice martial arts: Dennis Survival and Kung Fu Wu Wei.

 

By the end of the first year of medical laboratory studies at Ben Gurion University, Nitay decided to start a journey following the taiko drums of Japan and the Zen drummers of Taiwan. After repeated attempts, he was accepted into the U-Theater training group and lived with them on the top of a mountain outside Taipei, Taiwan. During this time he trained intensively and perfected his abilities while being exposed to the lifestyle surrounding the demanding music instrument. He also practiced intensively in kung fu, tai chi, attended three full Vipassana courses, learned Chinese, and of course Zen drumming.

 

After specializing in Taiwanese-style Zen drumming, Nitay moved to Japan. In Japan, he joined Ondekoza, one of the oldest taiko groups in the world. He lived with the team members while maintaining an intense lifestyle that included running 10km every morning, strength training, playing Japanese flute, and taiko drumming. Later Nitay expanded his knowledge in the Japanese style and trained with other leading drumming groups such as Wadaiko, Hiryu Shidara, and Ren Kobe. He then returned to Taiwan to collaborate with Taiwanese drummers, and teach Zen drumming at the Taipei Youth Prison.

 

After 5 years abroad, Nitay returned to Israel and founded Taiko Life, the first Taiko group in Israel. He was trained as a fitness trainer at Wingate College, was examined by a professional committee for the art of music, and was classified as a standout.

 
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Maho Sato

Born in Japan, Maho was exposed to music and traditional taiko drumming from early on. As a teen, Maho played the tuba in an orchestra, studied musical rhythms, and gained a deep understanding of the “bass” role.

 

After graduating from Kyoto University, Maho moved to Taiwan, her mother’s birthplace, to improve her Chinese. There she met Nitay and was again exposed to the world of taiko drumming. Maho began training and performing alongside Nitay in Israel and together they established “Taiko Life”.

Maho is also a sushi chef, trained at the Tokyo Sushi Academy, and today works as a sous chef at the famous Minato restaurant in Israel.

 
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Einat Chitayat

Einat was born in Japan and immigrated to Israel at the age of 16. After completing her academic studies at the Hebrew University, Einat returned to Japan. In Tokyo, Einat studied architectural studies at the Chuo Engineering College and then worked in international building project management companies throughout the years. 

 

She was Inspired by a taiko performance she saw by Sen Amano & Arahan and began studying taiko at the Miyabi Arashi Taiko School under Igarashi-sensei. After 6 years, Einat joined the Miyabi Arashi Performing Group, where she continued her studies and performed for an additional 5 years before returning to Israel.

 

In 2015, she joined Taiko Life Israel and began training and performing with the ensemble as her main occupation in parallel with design and architecture.

 
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Orit Zelniker

Graduate of the Israel Academy of Music of the Tel-Aviv University, Orit served as the first double bass player of the Israeli Chamber Orchestra and later of the "Tel - Aviv soloists ensemble". She took part in the "Voice of Music in the Upper Galilee" festivals and played as a soloist in television programs edited by Prof. Arie Vardi.

 

She continues to perform as part of leading orchestras in Israel: the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion, and more, and participates in chamber ensembles with local and international artists.

 

Orit also specializes in reflexology and Sujok and has been treating patients for over 15 years in her private clinic. 

 

The power and the energy of the taiko drum fascinated Orit and inspired her to study taiko. Today she is performing together with Taiko Life Israel and contributes with her long and rich musical experience.

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Miho Kataoka

Miho grew up in Kyoto, Japan, surrounded by traditional Japanese culture. Exposed to music since childhood, Miho began playing the shinobue, a Japanese traditional bamboo flute, after she heard a Japanese artist playing it. She recalls how her soul was stirred by the experience: “When I heard the sound, though I was very far from Japan, the smell and the sound of bamboo trees, the wind, and the waves, the nature of Japan, was present before my eyes.”  

 

Since then, playing the flute has become a big part of her life. Miho’s experience with the bamboo flute is not exclusively from Japan but also from India, where she studied Indian Classical Dance and performed as a dancer. 

 

Miho also specializes in Japanese ceramic art after completing her studies at the University of Art in Kyoto. Her collection is exhibited in the Tikotin Museum in north Israel and her works are sold throughout several museum shops in Israel.

 
Alon Nataf

Musician, world music seminar leader "Tzlilei Olam"

 

​Alon's initial exposure to music was at the local synagogue where he learned ancient prayers passed on in his family in the tradition of the Yemenite Jews. Alon wanted to further expand his musical knowledge and traveled all over the world to train under famous teachers for wind instruments such as the Ney in Turkey and the Bansuri in India.

 

Today Alon performs with various world music ensembles. He also conducts rhythm seminars and meditative music seminars using unique instruments from the far east. His love of music also led Alon to make appearances for organizations and educational institutions.

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