TEDxGateway 2018! Tao Issaro: Drumming beats of hope in a unique language
Tao Issaro, an Indian Australian percussionist, has developed a unique and dynamic live performance language over the years and has performed over 1000 performances in 30 countries since the age of nine

World of music

“For me, music is very personal. Music connects me to something that is beyond the logical mind.  It is expression without words, experience without sight.  It allows me to enter a world that is absolutely my own, without the influence of the outside world, whenever and wherever I want it. Music keeps me inspired, and I cannot imagine my world without it.”

Discovering power

“In my career as a musician, it is now that I enjoy the process (riyaz, practice) of being a musician unlike ever before. During my younger days I always played music in front of an audience, but now I find my power on my own, in a room, with my instrument, and that is a powerful realisation for me.”

Journey so far

“I have smiled my way through this journey and realised that any destination can be achieved with the help of coffee, cigarettes and laughter. Music plays an important role in my life. My journey is not to achieve the highest goals in music, but l play because I love the role music plays in my life. Any musical goal I attain is my achievement.”

Future plans

“My sister Isha and I are developing a new show under the banner Siblinks. It aims to develop and amalgamate the skill sets of Aerial Dance, Indian Contemporary Dance, Physical Theatre and Percussion into a new exciting show to be toured in India and Australia in 2020. Besides that last year, I was appointed as music director and associate director in Ochre Contemporary Dance Company’s latest show Kwangkan (Sand) which toured for 6 weeks to remote and regional communities in Western Australia and is set to premiere at the Perth International Arts Festival (Australia) in Feb 2019.”

Sourcing inspiration

“Neil deGrasse Tyson and Albert Einstein inspire me to bridge the gap between spirituality and science. If not a percussionist I would have become a Quantum Physicist because science inspires me every day.”

Enjoy the now

“Forget regret, all life is yours to miss. At TEDxGateway 2018 I’m performing alongside Maati Baani and musicians from across the world. I shall convey my message through my music since I am not the speaker at the event.”


In 2017, Tao was commissioned to compose and train 21 volunteer drummers for the inauguration of the 112ft Adi Yogi Statue at the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore, India. Tao won a grant from Tura New Music (Australia) to compose and perform site-specific music with dance in ‘In-Situ’ that had a season of six performances at

St George Cathedral in Perth, Western Australia. Tao completed Honours degree in Music (classical percussion) from the West Australian Academy for Performing Arts, Edith Cowen University at Perth. The University awarded Tao the Luigi Paolini Award 2017 for excellence in percussion.

(This 10th edition of the TEDxGateway sees over 20+ speakers from different walks of life sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration the world over. Over 5500 attendees are slated to attend this feast of ideas and inspiration on December 2 at DOME @ NSCI Mumbai.)

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