Kanade Sato: Little Drummer Girl

The Story Behind Roland’s New V-Drums Video

Kanade Sato Playing the TD-1KV V-Drums

Kanade Sato playing the Roland TD-1K V-Drums.

Have you seen the new promo video for Roland’s recently released entry-level V-Drums? If you haven’t, you really need to have a look. In the video, 11-year-old Kanade Sato, a very talented young drummer from Japan, has been invited to play on the new V-Drums kit and spontaneously jam along with three pro musicians. The event was a total surprise to her, and she had no advance knowledge of what was going to take place before she arrived. Undeterred by the soundstage, lights, and large production crew, Kanade gave an inspiring, on-the-spot performance that shows what a bright future she has in store for her stated goal, which is to be a professional drummer when she grows up.

The V-Drums School Girl Challenge

About Kanade Sato

Kanade Sato is from Saitama Prefecture in Japan, and she began playing drums at the age of three. The budding musician got her start performing on weekends alongside her father, an amateur drummer, with two kits set up side by side at a local park.

Soon after beginning drum lessons at the age of five, Kanade played in a concert at her music school. She performed “Child’s Anthem” by Toto and “Spain” by Chick Corea, two instrumental pieces that are challenging even for experienced adult drummers to play. Just a year later, the young prodigy got the opportunity to perform on stage with professional musicians for the first time.

Kaz Rodriguez and Kanade Sato in the TD-1KV V-Drums Video

Kaz Rodriguez and Kanade Sato trading fills in the promo video for the latest V-Drums.

In 2011, at the age of nine, Kanade was awarded First Place in the Junior Division of the V-Drums World Championship in Japan, and this led to an ongoing relationship with Roland. The next year, she demonstrated the HD-3 V-Drums Lite, and a video of her performance was uploaded to the Roland YouTube channel and included on a promotional DVD for the product. Since then, she has publicly performed on V-Drums many times at Roland dealers in Japan.

Kanade Sato Playing the Roland HD-3 V-Drums Lite

Kanade Sato playing the Roland HD-3 V-Drums Lite in 2012.

This year, young Kanade’s star continues to rise. In April, she was named the 2014 Grand Prize Winner in the under-18 age group at Hit Like A Girl, an annual global drumming contest for female percussionists.

Making the Latest V-Drums Video

To create the video for the new V-Drums model, Roland employed a noted production company in Japan and rented a large studio facility. Kaz Rodriguez, a professional drummer from the UK, and two other musicians came to play along with Kanade.


None of the musicians had met each other before, and Kaz was the only one who knew ahead of time what was going to happen. In fact, the drummer’s flight from London had landed in Tokyo just that morning, and shooting began with no rehearsal immediately upon his arrival at the video studio.

With no less than eight cameras rolling, Kanade was brought in to meet the musicians, and then was invited to play. After a bit of nervous hesitation, the young drummer quickly settled in, keeping up with the adult players like a seasoned pro.


Kaz Rodriguez and Kanade Sato on the video set.

Though she’s still very young, Kanade is a skilled player who’s had a lot of experience playing both acoustic drums and other V-Drums sets. Having never seen the TD-1 before, she was able to sit down and play naturally right away, a testament to Roland’s goal of creating a quality entry-level drum set that’s worthy of the respected V-Drums name.

We know that Kanade is headed for many great things in the exciting musical future that’s ahead of her, and we’re honored to have her as part of the Roland family.


Kanade and the band after the video shoot.


Production crew at the V-Drums video shoot.