400. Eisa: The Rhythm of Okinawa at the JCCC July 31, 2013.

 P. Anne Winter writes:

 Okinawa is an amazing group of over 160 islands at the southern tip of Japan. Because it is so close to the Asian mainland, it is influenced by the cultures of China, Thailand, and Bali of Indonesia.

 The Japanese Canadian Culture Centre will be hosting a special one-performance only of the theatrical group Karakoro from Okinawa. It will use their unusual musical instruments such as the sanshin (a form of lute), and barrel drums.

 This will be a very different type of performance than any other Japanese event I’ve written about before. The costumes are much more colourful than on my Tomomi Miyaqi blog: (https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2013/06/24/387-traditional-okinawa-ryuku-dance-in-toronto/). The dances use bolder movements and the expression in many ways feel quite unique to Okinawa alone.

 This performance will be divided into three sections: traditional Eisa, some of which you might recognize such as a lion dance and of course a dragon dance. For the second portion there will be nursery songs, always a favourite in Japan. I look forward to hearing these especially. Finally there will be an original work for Eisa by the Karakoro group. This Eisa work is in the Okinawa Oban festival tradition. All over Okinawa, teenagers create their own form of Eisa currently. Some use rock and punk music so who knows what we will hear during this section. What I do know is that it will start with an old Japanese favourite “Sakura”.

 As if this is not enough excitement for one evening, the Center has an Okinawan cultural event for two hours before the performance. You will be able to taste Okinawan food and drinks. The menu includes home-made peanut tofu with original Royji sauce and special pork dishes. You will be able to take a close-up look at the costumes and perhaps check out other crafts and artifacts. This makes me curious all ready.

This special event is at the Japanese Canadian Culture Centre, 6 Garamond Court. The Pre-show is at 5pm and the performance at 7:30pm. Tickets are not free. They are $20 for adults.

Ruth adds: If you know of any other special cultural events, please let us know.  They really should be no more than $15, and preferably free.  Thanks. ruthlormalloy@gmail.com.



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