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Arts Gumbo 2014: Music & Dance of the Islands - Japan & Okinawa
Rainier Valley Cultural Center
Seattle, WA
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On Saturday, September 13th at 6pm, Arts Gumbo introduces Mako & Munjuru, performing music and dance of Okinawa and Japan. Using the Okinawan lute, zither, taiko drums and voice, Mako & Munjuru combine elegant melodies, folk tales and sophisticated classic tunes to present traditional "island songs" of Okinawa & Japan. Munjuru (which means straw hat) is comprised of three musicians: Mako on vocals & sanshin; Sadayo on kutu; Noriko on taiko; and two dancers Takako and Hitomi.

At 7pm Arts Gumbo will serve audiences a traditional Japanese dinner cooked earlier in the day by Community Kitchens Northwest and local volunteers. Community Kitchens Northwest will hold a Japanese cooking workshop with guest consultant Fumiko Kurose-Bretzke at 2pm on September 13. The workshop is open to anyone interested in learning about Japanese cooking and food.  To register, please contact Leika Suzumura at or call 206-214-8892.

After dining, audience members can participate in a Bon dance workshop. Bon Odori are folk dances traditionally performed during Obon, a Japanese summer festival, to music that includes the steady beat of a taiko. The taiko sits on a raised platform, or a yagura, and musicians use bachi, or drumsticks, on the taiko, to keep time for the Bon dancers. The guiding purpose of Bon Odori is to set aside the ego through unselfconscious dancing.

Tickets for Arts Gumbo 2014 can be purchased for $15 general; $10 seniors and students; $5 for children 5-12; at the door or at for more. For updated event times and dates, please call 206.760.4285.

More opportunities to explore Arts Gumbo cultures:
In partnership with Columbia City Gallery, Arts Gumbo is presenting -From Hiroshima to Hanford, from August 6 through September 21, 2014.  The exhibit features two Japanese artists, Etsuko Ichikawa and Yukiyo Kawano, who question and consider the legacy of the nuclear era with multi-media floating lanterns and a life-size soft sculpture of Little Boy, the atomic bomb. The exhibit is curated by Ken Matsudaira, curator of the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery. The exhibit is free and there will be an artist's reception on August 9, from 5-8pm. For more information, please visit

Arts Gumbo Book Chats: In a partnership with Columbia Branch Library, Arts Gumbo is presenting a book reading and discussion on Thursday, September 11. The featured book for the Japanese/Okinawa event is Above the East China Sea by Sarah Byrd. The novel tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across seventy years by the shared experience of an ancient culture.  The book will be available on August 1 for check out and the discussion group will be held at 6:30 pm at the library. Call 206.386.1908 for information on how to participate.

Community Kitchens Northwest Workshops: In conjunction with each Arts Gumbo event, SEEDArts is partnering with Community Kitchens Northwest to offer free cultural cooking workshops. In cooperation with a cultural consultant, Community Kitchens will involve you in a cultural cooking and dining experience. You will will learn techniques, spices and cooking methods of Japan and Okinawa and then partake of your dinner at the evening Arts Gumbo event. To register, contact Leika Suzumura at or call 206-214-8892.

Arts Gumbo is co-presented SEEDArts in partnership with Northwest Folklife, Community Kitchens NW and the Columbia Branch Library. For more information, call 206.760.4285 or visit Funding was provided by 4 Culture, BNSF and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
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Tickets available at the door at 5pm



Rainier Valley Cultural Center
3515 S Alaska street
Seattle, WA 98118
United States

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Arts > Dance
Arts > Literary
Arts > Performance
Music > Global
Other > Family-Friendly

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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