Speaker Biographies


Kimiko Uriu, Certified Tea Specialist and Owner KIMICHA 

Kimiko Uriu is the creator and founder of the Ottawa Tea Festival. She was one of the first Certified Tea Specialist from the Specialty Tea Institute of New York. Kimiko is also the owner of Ottawa-based KIMICHA Tea, which is best known for its award-winning teas, specifically the 2011 North American Tea Championship black tea category winner, Jin Jun Mei.

Kimiko has worked in a leading Japanese tea company for several years, where she has been involved in each step of the tea production process - working in the tea field, factory production, tea ceremony, sales in Europe, and brand development. She has worked with chocolate, ice cream, yoghurt producers, and tea houses in Europe. She has also introduced Matcha as a food ingredient in Europe and has integrated it into recipes and food products.

Kimiko works closely with businesses in creating tailor-made solutions and tea programs to cater to different types of markets, whether it be food service or retail.
 She has also taught the Tea Sommelier course at the Algonquin College and continues to organise tea workshops and tea-tastings in the Ottawa area.


Louise Roberge, President of the Tea Association of Canada


Louise Roberge is the President of Tea Association of Canada and has been the guiding force for over 10 years. Louise Roberge has a Bachelor's Degree in Science from the University of Montreal and a Masters of Business (MBA) from Sherbrook University. Louise continues her efforts in the non profit realm and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), from the Canadian Society of Association Executives.



Kyoko Kosaki, Certified Omotesenke Seiha Chado Japanese Tea Ceremony Teacher

Kyoko Kosaki obtained her Teacher's Certificate of Omotesenke Seiha Chado (the Omotesenke seiha School of Japanese Tea Ceremony) after 12 years study in Japan before she came to Canada 1967. Since the late 1970's, she has offered demonstrations at Japanese Embassy events, for Canadian and international diplomatic officials and other organizations. During the 1980's she conducted chado group lessons at community centres around the National Capital Region. She now instructs Omotesenke Seiha Chado classes at her chashitsu (a special tea room) in her home.

Kyoko Tsunetomi, Practicing Chado for over 10 years

Kyoko Tsunetomi has been practicing chado for over ten years with Mrs. Kosaki. She has extensive experience in demonstrating chado in the Ottawa community and is the head guest in the tea ceremony.

Daniel Tremblay, Owner of Maison de thé Cha Yi Tea House

Daniel Tremblay travels each spring to the best tea producing regions of Asia to meet with artisan producers and imports high quality teas directly. Daniel pursued studies in herbology, organic farming and viticulture. Since 2004 he developed his passion for tea while working in several tea houses in France and Canada before opening his own teashop 2 years ago in Gatineau (old Hull). As a lover of tea and all the culture associated with these aromatic leaves, it is a pleasure for him to share his knowledge and passion.

Susan Peters

Susan Peters is a Certified Tea Sommelier through the Tea Association of Canada and the International Tea Education Institute.As well, she certified as a Tea Specialist through the World Tea Academy and a Tea and Etiquette Consultant through the Washington Protocol School and Bruce Richardson's. She recently toured tea gardens in Hawaii and would like to share some of the most delightful teas from the region.  

Yumiko Tsunakawa, Ikebana Artist and Certified Teacher

Yumiko Tsunakawa is an Ikebana Artist and Certified Teacher and teaches over 160 classes, where over 3,000 ikebana arrangements at her Sakura Studio are created per year. Over 300 students have studied at her studio.

Dr Vaidya Hemant Gupta, Ayurvedic Medical & Holistic Specialist

East meets West. Ayurvedic medical and holistic health specialist, teacher, practitioner, clinical consultant, researcher, and lecturer. International experience in medical teaching, lecturing, and technician training. Extensive expertise in natural healing and panchakarma (purification procedures).


Gamelan Semara Winangun

Coming from a Javanese word meaning "mallet" or "to strike", in contemporary usage, the word “gamelan” just means "orchestra". There are many different types of gamelan in Indonesia; the music that Gamelan Semara Winangun plays comes from the island of Bali. In fact, the instruments also come from Bali; Eric Da Silva brought these instruments to Ottawa in 2002 and formed the first gamelan group in Ottawa. Today the group is run as a collective and rehearses once a week at the Indonesian Embassy. 

Ryoko Itabashi

was born in Japan and has been involved in music since childhood. Early on, she played violin and piano, but found her true calling traditional Japanese instruments. The first of these was the Japanese Drum, or "Taiko", which is played with an ensemble in a dynamic and vigorous style requiring significant physical strength. Shortly after beginning Taiko, she also began playing the bamboo flute, which often accompanies Taiko. Ryoko began learning the Tsugaru Shamisen in 2001 under the late Rinshoji Kida, who was well-known Shamisenist. Since moving to Canada in 2009, Ryoko has been playing all the traditional instruments at various venues in Montreal and Ottawa. Ryoko's goal is to continue to fulfill her lifelong dream of sharing Japanese music and culture with the world.

Kokichi (Scott) Kusano

Kokichi began his performing career at the age of 5 as a member of the Toronto Suwa Daiko a cultural association located in Toronto. He is a founding member of the renowned Nagata Shachu, a professional Taiko ensemble as a lead musician and performer in a career that lasted for nearly two decades. In 2012 Kokichi left the ensemble in order to further his exploration of Japanese music and hone his abilities as a Taiko, Shinobue and Shakuhachi artist. As an independent artist, he has performed alongside the renowned dancer/musician Kayo Yasuhara as a guest performer with her group Komachi in such events as the International Percussion Festival in Longueil (2014) and a collaboration presented by the Consulate of Japan at the Momiji Center Toronto (2014). 

KUD Djerdan

KUD Djerdan was founded in May of 2007 with the idea of using song and performing arts to preserve the roots of multinational Bosnian-Herzegovinian art and culture. The work began with a small number of enthusiasts of all ages who presented themselves as djerdan - a threaded necklace of different gems. 

With the collaboration and volunteer support of our Bosnian community members in Ottawa, the organization has acquired folk costumes for all its members as well as a great deal of musical equipment. Through the use of folklore, drama and dance, they have united a community and preserved the customs and traditions of one country.

The Rythym Room


"We spend 9 months of our lives 6 inches away from our mother’s beating heart, the beat of the drum is in us all.”

Jody Marsolais has over 26 years of Teaching Experience and is a Vic Firth Certified Instructor/Facilitator. At the age of five, Jody’s zeal for music and performance began. Jody would attend his Mom’s performances at various events such as receptions and gatherings. Terry, his Mom, began to introduce him to various instruments. Since then, Jody has become proficient at percussion, drums, and guitar. His abilities extend to reading and writing music theory.

Quantum physics, philosophy, creative visualization and meditation resonate with Jody’s spirit. From these teachings, his desire has become rooted in the understanding that healing can be achieved through a variety of sound modalities. His holistic workshops have proven to be inspirational as the audience experiences a sense of peace and wellness through the soft sounds of crystal singing bowls and meditation.

Jody manages his private practice, The Rythym Room, teaching instrument lessons and supports the Community through volunteerism.


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Tea Trivia

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