Okinawan Spirit: 感赫堪開柑 Yuimaaru
Okinawan Drum Dance & Music
Friday, October 11, 7:30pm
Michael J Fox Theatre
7373 MacPherson Avenue, Burnaby BC
Special Guests: Hidekatsu, Mion, and Yujiro Nakajima
Adult $20 | Student/Senior $15 | Child 3 – 13 $10
On Friday, October 11, Metro Vancouver audiences will be treated to a feast of Okinawan drum-dancing featuring eisa, Ryukyu shishimai (lion dance) and wadaiko as Chijinshu Wakatiida and special guests Hidekatsu & Mion, take over the stage of the Michael J Fox Theatre in Burnaby. The Bulletin spoke to concert organizer Masami Hanashiro about what to expect at the show.
You are bringing what looks like a really exciting show to the Micheal J Fox Theatre on October 11. You’re calling it Okinawan spirit 感赫堪開柑 Yuimaaru – what does Yuimaaru mean?
Yuimaaru is an Okinawan word that means “assist each other and work together”, which to me is the soul of eisa, the folk dance and drumming of Okinawa that is so deeply rooted in community.
Chijinshu Wakatiida is youth ensemble of eisa and wadaiko (what we know of as taiko here in Vancouver), founded over 27 years ago by City Hall officials and parents to build and encourage a healthy next generation through drumming. Chijinshu Wakatiida performed at the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami orphan support charity concerts in 2012 & 2014 at the Michael J Fox Theatre and we’re really excited to welcome them back!
Also, as this year is the 130th Anniversary of the Consulate General of Japan in BC, it couldn’t be a better time to share our Yuimaaru spirit.
What does eisa mean to you?
To me eisa is storytelling through accompanying songs and drumbeats. In Okinawa, each region has their original eisa and folksongs, and everywhere you go, you experience this unique energy and expression as they celebrate their roots.
Tell me about the origins of eisa.
Eisa began in the mid-17th Century, originating as nenbutsu (chanting), performed on the last day of the Bon festival (the Buddhist All Souls’ Day) as a way to honour the spirits of one’s ancestors. Since those beginnings, there have been many changes. After the Second World War, numerous eisa festivals were organized as a way to energize the younger generations and build community spirit. It is still very much a community-based art form that reflects the spirit of the Okinawan people.
What can we expect at this concert?
Chijinshu means people who play the drum and Wakatiida means young sun. As their name expresses, they showcase Okinawan eisa, wadaiko and faakuu (“flower drum” in kanji), accompanied by athletic and comical Okinawan shishimai (lion dance). Also, special guests musician/producer Hidekatsu and sanshin (Okinawan three string banjo) singer Mion will deliver traditional & contemporary Okinawan songs. As a special treat, guitarist Yujiro Nakajima will be collaborating with Mion. It will be an amazing evening.