Our virtual concert series Music Mondays continues in May with many more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be preforming LIVE via Facebook this month on Mondays.
The theme this month is "Progress" and we will feature the following artists:
MAY 3: KAT MCDOWELL
Born in Tokyo and raised in New Zealand, Kat McDowell makes music with an Ocean Pop sound delivered in a blend of Japanese and English that is uniquely her own.
Kat’s career started with a record that no 1. on the vinyl charts in Japan and her music has been placed in multiple commercials including a 2019 Xfinity and Apple commercial. Most recently her single “Outside Inside” was selected for multiple “New Music Friday” Spotify Editorial playlists around the world. Kat released her song “1000 Paper Cranes” as a tribute to her Japanese grandmother just as the pandemic hit and it sparked the idea to start zoom Origami workshops for her supporters as a way to connect and bring some comfort and therapy. The live music / origami workshops have been a hit and have been picked up by colleges, conventions, summer camps and schools all over the US. Most recently in 2021, Kat's newest song "Kokoro no Kakera (Kintsugi)" won Grand Prize in the World Section of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and has been performing and writing songs live on Twitch three times a week.
MAY 10: OKAMOTO MIYA
Born in the snow country of Niigata prefecture in Japan. Witnessing Shinnai-bushi Master Okamoto Bunya’s final years, she became fascinated by this form of storytelling, which uses song accompanied by shamisen music. She left Japan in 1996, living in Belgium, Canada and the US. After many adventures around the world (exploring sound and visual composition), in 2012 she became a disciple of Master Okamoto Miyanosuke III. Ever since, she has been learning Shinnai-bushi artistry, traveling between New York and Tokyo. In 2019, she became a Natori, a holder of a diploma of master of Okamoto school Shinnai-bushi, and received the stage name Okamoto Miya. She is passionate about introducing the world to the great achievements of the late Grand Master Okamoto Bunya and the charm of Okamoto school Shinnai-bushi. In 2020, Miya (a.k.a. Takahashi Sachiyo, Nekaa Lab) began a new series, Shinnai Meets Puppetry, inviting local and international puppeteers. Its first repertoire, One Night in Winter, is in the process of creation with the support from The Jim Henson Foundation. She is currently a resident artist at HERE Arts Centre in New York City developing a new experimental music theatre, The Emotions, in collaboration with Korean instrumentalist gamin. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
MAY 17: TARO WAYAMA & DAVID LEE RUEST
Taro Wayama is a Japanese born guitarist/composer. He is a winner of numerous competitions such as 1st place in the 2003 Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition and 2nd place in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. As a composer he received “Best Original Score” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for an independent film, “Anne Jennings”. Taro is an active soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed in Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, China, Belgium and the US. He frequently collaborates with violin, clarinet, flute, voice and dancer performing music from Renaissance through 21st Century and Folk/World music. Taro holds Masters and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Pepe Romero, William Kannengiser, James Smith, Brian Head and Scott Tennant. He has performed in number masterclasses by great guitarists such as Pepe Romero, David Leisner, Scott Tennant, Benjamin Verdery, Dusan Bogdanvic, Fabio Zanon, and William Kanengiser.
MAY 24: MATSUTOYO SATO, MARISA KOSUGI & MATSUTOYO YU SATO
Vocals, Shamisen. Founder of Matsutoyo Kai based on Los Angeles (http://matsutoyokai.org). Matsutoyo Sato studied European music and opera in Japan for 10 years as a child. At 16, she was formally exposed to Minyo, Shigin, and the Biwa. By age 20, her instructors encouraged her to apprentice under Madame Matsuko Sato, the late Iemoto, or Grand Master of the Sato school in Japan. Excelling in a variety of traditional music genres, her skill and determination allowed her talents to be recognized with performances on both local and national NHK television and radio programs, and various stage performances throughout Japan. In the United States, she has performed in films such as ” The Karate Kid 2” and various TV commercials. Disney Land’s “Japanese Festival” also “Little Tokyo Ondo” for Japanese Nisei Week Festival. Today, Matsutoyo Sato continues to teach and pass on her knowledge, passion and expertise in traditional Minyo throughout Northern and Southern California.
Marisa Kosugi was born in Berkeley, CA. She is the daughter of Minyo master, Madame Matsutoyo Sato, who established Matsutoyo Kai in 1966. At age 21, Marisa apprenticed under Japan’s renowned Minyo singer, Madame Makiko Kosugi, to study the traditional style of Minyo, the Japanese cultural arts. She lived in Tokyo for 3-years and attained her Natori, accredited name of a performing art. She learned the language and etiquette by listening and watching her senpais, upper classmen. There were many challenges, but through the support from her Minyo family in Japan, she learned discipline. The purpose of her training was to have a better understanding of her mother's experiences in the arts that requires strength, patience and deep passion. After returning to the U.S. she's been enjoying time with her mother and Matsutoyo Kai members performing in California. She hopes to share the stories of Minyo and the history as her mother's wish is for Minyo to continue another 100 years.
Shamisen player. Originally from Osaka, Japan. After moving to Los Angeles, California in the US, Yu met the Minyo shamisen/vocal legend, Matsutoyo Sato and started learning shamisen from her. Afterwhile, he received his certified name (Natori), “Matsutoyo Yu Sato”. In 2018, he performed at the National Theatre of Japan. Besides being a shamisen player, he also plays guitar for different music such as jazz, blues and R&B and toured in the US, Canada, Japan with many artists/shows such as Billy Mitchell, Barbara Morrison, Thelma Houston, The Supremes and Garrett Morris. He leads a jazzy style of Japanese folk music group, “Minyo Station”, which has performed at many festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta and etc. The debut album, Cultural Twist was released in 2013. From 2020, he started creating a new style of shamisen music with the Grammy Nominee keyboardist, Kimo Cornwell, who is known as a member of HIROSHIMA. They are called, “Yu-Ki project” and performed virtually for museums and festivals. His versatile music style is very unique and his work appeared on radio, TV shows, and movies.