Yoshihiro “Yoshi” Takemasa (Percussionist) was born in Kobe, Japan on June 21st, 1974 and attended Maiko High School. In 1995 he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician. When he reached the US, he began his training as a percussionist, studying with Master Drummers from Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal, Cuba, Jamaica and the USA. In 2002, Takemasa formed the Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble with five other musicians. Together they released two albums and have toured internationally.
Since 2003, he has performed and toured with Antibalas. As a member of Antibalas, Takemasa was invited to be the lead percussionist to the musical Fela!, directed by Bill T. Jones. Fela! opened on Broadway in 2009 and received 11 Tony nominations, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Album.
In addition to Fela!, Takemasa has appeared on several national TV programs including The 2010 Tony Awards, The View, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Colbert Report. Takemasa has also worked extensively as a freelance musician in the New York music scene since 1998. He has worked with such renowned artists as Patti LaBelle, Beyoncé Knowles, TV on the Radio, Lauryn Hill, Angelique Kidjo, The Roots, JadaKiss, Seun Kuti, Vampire Weekend, Lee Fields, DJ Logic, and Julian Velard.