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 Post subject: "Traditions / Transformations 2009!" April 17 - 19
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 6883
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Contact: Francis Wong, Creative Director


For Immediate Release

Asian Improv aRts and Genryu Arts


*“Traditions / Transformations 2009!” ** *

works by Melody Takata, Genny Lim, and Tatsu Aoki drawing upon cultural
legacies that reveal new possibility.

Asian Improv aRts

44 Montgomery Street Suite 2310

San Francisco, CA 94104


f: 866-415-0733



Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18, 2009 / 8pm

Sunday, April 19, 2009 / 2pm

At CounterPULSE


* *

Friday, April 17, 2009 / 8pm

*“Pilgrimage” *by Genny Lim & *“Shimenawa” *by Melody Takata* *

Saturday, April 18, 2009 / 8pm

*“Re-ROOTED: The Untold Story of Tokyo Shamisen Music” *by Tatsu Aoki* &
“Shimenawa” *by Melody Takata**

Sunday, April 19, 2009 / 2pm

*“Re-ROOTED: The Untold Story of Tokyo Shamisen Music” *by Tatsu Aoki* &
“Shimenawa” *by Melody Takata**


Dance: Melody Takata, Lenora Lee, Gen Ensemble

Music: Tatsu Aoki, Hideko Nakajima, Francis Wong, Gen Ensemble

Poetry: Genny Lim

1310 Mission Street (at 9th Street) San Francisco, CA 94103

Admission: $15 general, $10 for CounterPULSE members and children under 12
For tickets, visit or call (800)
For venue information, visit

*“Pilgrimage”* explores the notion of pilgrimage in a recently
completed collection
of poems in three parts: Outer Passage – which examines the North
Beach-Chinatown world of my immigrant working class parents; Diaspora Blues
– exploring the wide range of places and social-political events of our
times and the culminating, Secret Passage – which takes the reader full
circle through my travels to Sarajevo, Caracas, Bhutan, Bali, Indonesia. The
book ends in a dramatic dialogue, Pilgrimage, a meditation on existence. -
Genny Lim

*“Re-ROOTED: The Untold Story of Tokyo Shamisen Music”** *by Tatsu Aoki
shares Aoki’s own background in the geisha culture of Tokyo growing up in
one that city’s cuisine houses. Trained in shamisen and taiko by his
grandmother, Aoki is part of a family performance tradition that stretches
back some 400 years to the famed Edo Period – the watershed era in the
creation of classic Japanese culture. However, Aoki ‘s family tradition –
ozashiki shamisen – has yet to receive the broad international public
attention as the “high” arts of Japan. In this special work featuring his
shamisen music and personal narrative, Aoki will bring to the Bay Area
perhaps for the first time the story of this rich and soulful tradition.

*“Shimenawa”** *pursues issues of ongoing cultural erosion in contemporary
society and the complexity of re-inventing the Shinto rope to keep evil out.
Melody Takata's Japanese American dance narratives unleash women from
traditional roles with the sounds of taiko and painted imagery by poet
performer Genny Lim. The musical score rendered by master shamisen
performer and enka vocalist Hideko Nakajima, ozashiki shamisen and bassist
Tatsu Aoki and saxophonist Francis Wong harks back to the Showa period of
Japanese music – an aesthetic shared by Japanese and Japanese Americans in
the pre-World War II era.


Born in Japan into an artisan family, *Tatsu Aoki* began studies in the
traditional Japanese performing arts at age 3. Since arriving in the US in
1977, Aoki has become a leading advocate for Chicago's Asian American
community and one of Chicago's most in-demand musicians on both contrabass,
taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute). As founder and
Executive Director of AIRMW, Aoki has initiated and managed several programs
to advance the understanding of Asian American culture and community through
the arts, including the Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and the
JASC Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency project. His work as an artist and
educator in the cultural arts and as a leader in the Asian American
community address as well as define the issues facing the community,
including the need for quality artistic programs that reflect the Asian
American experience.

*Genny Lim* is a native San Franciscan poet, performer, playwright, educator
and cultural activist whose artistic vision strives to express the
uniqueness and universality of her experience as the child of immigrant
Chinese, deeply engaged in the civil rights and Asian American arts movement
since the early 1970s. Her work has always been deeply informed by her
commitment to social justice issues on many fronts. Her two books of
poetry, *Winter Place* (1989, Kearny Street Workshop) and *Child of
War*(2003, Kalamaku Press) have been widely recognized for defining a
distinctive Asian American voice in the Bay Area and international literary
landscape. Recently she toured Venezuela as a participant in the* Second
Annual World Poetry Festival* in Caracas. Her award-winning play about
Angel Island immigrants, *Paper Angels* aired on *American Playhouse* in
1995 and the anthology she co-authored,* Island: Poetry and History of
Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, *brought national attention to
institutional racism against immigrants. *Bitter Cane*, a second play set
in the Hawaiian sugar plantations of the 1920s, has also been published and
performed nationally and overseas. She also been commissioned to create a
libretto for Jon Jang’s *Immigrant Suite*; and poetry for Francis Wong’s, *
Shanghai** 1948*. Her work has been featured on the PBS series, *The United
States of Poetry;* and KQED's* *feature, *San Francisco Chinatown*.

Sensei *Melody Takata* is a taiko artist (Japanese drumming) and
dancer/choreographer trained in classical Japanese dance. In her 20+ year
career she has engaged in the interpretation of traditional pieces as well
as created new works in the tradition. She has further explored the role of
innovation as a means to advance the tradition as living culture,
experimenting both with interdisciplinary integration of traditional art
disciplines (taiko, folk dance, folk music, ozashiki music, classical dance)
as well as the use of contemporary forms such as modern dance, spoken word
and improvised music. **

* *


*Asian Improv aRts’* (AIR) mission is to produce, present and document
artistic works that represent the Asian American experience. With a unique
and active network of professional and emerging musicians and artists,
community organizations, and activists, AIR has consistently produced or
facilitated cultural events of the highest quality that have brought
international attention to the Asian American arts movement in the Chicago
and San Francisco Bay Areas. In addition, AIR provides critical technical
assistance, advocacy, production support, mentorship and networking to
artists and arts organizations through its Community Arts Development
Program and the California Asian and Pacific Islander Arts Network. Visit:

The mission of *Genryu Arts* is to promote, present, and participate in
Japanese and Japanese American culture through taiko (Japanese drumming) and
other traditional and contemporary music and dance forms. Genryu Arts
serves the Asian American and multicultural community of the San Francisco
Bay Area by presenting public performances at various community events,
theater venues, museums, and festivals.

For more information: call Asian Improv aRts (415) 908-3636, email, or visit

With support from Creative Work Fund, James Irvine Foundation, William and
Flora Hewlett Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Grants for the Arts/SF
Hotel Tax Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation,
San Francisco Foundation.

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