In 2010, the online encyclopedia Drummerworld added a 13-year-old Japanese schoolgirl to its list of the world’s greatest players. Senri Kawaguchi had rocketed to fame after posting YouTube videos of herself drumming along to songs from the “K-On!” anime series, wearing the same sailor-suit school uniform featured in the show.
While many of the musical prodigies celebrated on YouTube quickly fade into obscurity, though, Kawaguchi’s star has continued to rise. This weekend, she’ll be appearing on the main stage at Tokyo Jazz Festival, on a bill shared with living legends Ron Carter and Sadao Watanabe. Not bad going for a third-year university student who’s still only 20.