Panels and Speakers
"Art and Activism in North American Taiko"
Michelle Fujii, PJ Hirabayashi, Roy Hirabayashi, and Tiffany Tamaribuchi.
"Never Again, Again: Memories of Japanese American Redress for Decarceration and Reparations"
Susan Hayase, Lisa Ikemoto, Dr. Satsuki Ina, and Janice Luszczak.
"The Stories We Tell Ourselves: The Model Minority Myth and Anti-Blackness"
Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks
AkaMya (Sage Andrew Romero), Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan (featuring collegiate taiko players), Busy Lighthouse, Davon, Fo Fera, Güero, Hear in Color, iraya, Isaku Kageyama, katgrüvs, The Midnight Dip, Natasha Greer, Sacramento Taiko Dan, SunBabi, Trace Repeat, TheH!veM!nd, Yuppie Liberation Front
Natasha is a seasoned songstress and musical theatre actress. Natasha fell in love with singing and musical theatre at a very young age. Since then, she has sung with various choirs and performed in several theatrical productions in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento regions. Her most recent production was in 2018 where she starred in Little Shop of Horrors with the Rocklin Community Theatre. Other credits include Ruined (Images Theatre), RENT (Aspelius Productions), Hair (Artistic Differences), bare (Artistic Differences), And the Dream Goes On (California Musical Theatre), The Best of Broadway, and Wings of Freedom (Images Theatre Co.).
Sage Andrew Romero
Sage Andrew Romero is a Tovowahamatu Numu (Big Pine Paiute)/Tuah-Tahi (Taos Pueblo) tribal member and founder of the AkaMya Culture Group based in Tovowahamatu. Payahu Nadu (Big Pine, Owens Valley). His Company AkaMya is a culturally based group which focuses on Indigenous Dance, Song, Culture and Identity, while also utilizing multimedia (Film/Photography/Sound) mediums to raise awareness of indigenous people today. AkaMya and Sage also live a life of Sobriety to serve as positive role models for the youth. Sage is an accomplished Hoop Dancer in the style of his Taos ancestors, and has taught many World Class Dancers which are renown today. Having traveled internationally dancing in countries such as; Spain, Italy, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Panama, Ecuador, Canada, Israel, and more, the importance of raising awareness became evident in seeing the misconceptions people from other countries have of Indigenous people of Turtle Island. Thus his passion for media began. Being self taught, Sage began making videos about native peoples issues and storytelling. Eventually, his short films and music videos would be shown at Indigenous Film Festivals such as; LA Skinsfest in Los Angeles, NatiVisions Film Festival at the Colorado River Indian Tribe, Parker, AZ, the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and multiple small tribal venues. It is his goal to continue making positive and strong Indigenous content from our own perspective to dispel any negative or typical stereotypes people may have of indigenous people. We are still here today and our voices and visions need to be heard, seen, felt and shared. We, the indigenous people are alive.
The Midnight Dip
The Midnight Dip is a 5-piece original band hailing from Sacramento. Their captivating, high-energy performances take the audience through a unique and creative theatrical experience. Though most of the members have a jazz background, the band’s music is unpredictable, with an eclectic blend of swing, funk and polka. This double-keyboard combo is everything sweet and salty, and can perform to a wide variety of audiences, from funky dance tunes in a club to soulful jazz in a seated environment. Their powerful messages are refreshing and relatable, confronting gender stereotypes and promoting body positivity. The Midnight Dip is headed by the sultry and sassy Liz Kat, who's voice is mesmerizing and soulful with an undeniable depth of feeling.
Songwriting for over a decade, Fo Fera has been a closet musician for most of her youth. Struggling from severe overthinking and a crippling fear of success, it was only recently that she decided to challenge her inner thoughts. Fo Fera is a self taught guitarist and sings in eight languages.
As a storyteller, Fo Fera writes love ballads, a musical storyteller. She finds inspiration on lone walks in nature, reflecting on heartbreak, emotions, and living in different eras. Her music expresses emotions from different tumultuous relationships. By over-sharing, she connects us to our darkest emotions. She believes music, fashion, and impacting visuals are all parallel.
Our festival started as a way for us to share taiko with our community! The Davis community has been very supportive of our art, and our festival started as a way for us to share taiko as we experience it, weaving a bit more information about its history and context while just hanging out with people. Sudwerk Brewery in Davis has opened up their space for us for years, making this possible, to which we are very grateful! While we love sharing our stage with other artists and musicians, taiko remains at the core of what we do. For this online event, we are joined by some very special guests to continue to do this.
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan
Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan is the student performing taiko ensemble at UC Davis since 2001. We're the group that hosts the Davis Cherry Blossom Festival! The Davis Cherry Blossom Festival company is managed by our members and volunteers from the larger community. Many universities have taiko teams, and some of them will join us for a collaborative performance with some information about taiko history.
Sacramento Taiko Dan
Sacramento Taiko Dan is the premiere Sacramento-area taiko performing ensemble and school. Sacramento Taiko Dan will be sharing footage from their Anniversary Concert last Fall, showcasing professional for-the-stage taiko performance.
If you're outside UC Davis and interested in learning taiko, we recommend reaching out them (during normal times). Tiffany Tamaribuchi sensei is a internationally touring taiko performer, who will be joining us for the following panel. She has been an instructor and mentor for our members, and some of our members have since graduated and joined Sacramento Taiko Dan.
Isaku Kageyama sensei is a storied performer, studio producer, and educator currently teaching at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute. His set will blend teaching ethnomusical history and performance, perfect for learning more about and appreciating taiko as an artform.
Kageyama sensei is currently instructing Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan through a remote directed group study program focused on music composition, allowing us to continue studying taiko and music from home during the pandemic. We are very grateful for his instruction and to share his set with you!
Panel Abstract: Art as Activism in North American Taiko
Kumidaiko, or just “Taiko,” is a form of ensemble drumming that originated in Japan in the 1950’s, drawing influence from both traditional festivals and Western jazz drumming. Taiko became popular in the United States in the late 60’s and 70’s, largely as an activity in Buddhist temples and community groups, made widely accessible through the innovation of the wine barrel drum in Los Angeles. Today, taiko has become a global phenomenon, with community groups all over the world connected by transnational markets for performance, instruction, and instruments. Despite taiko’s internationality, the history of taiko in the United States occupies specific and local spaces in the formulation of Asian American identity and ethnic placemaking.
With stories spanning fifty years of taiko experience, we are joined by National Heritage Fellows Roy and PJ Hirabayashi along with respected taiko artists Tiffany Tamaribuchi and Michelle Fujii for a conversation about how Taiko functions as a means of organizing, place-making, self-expression, and social activism, both historically and today.
Yuppie Liberation Front
YLF is a collective of native Bay Area musicians playing music influenced by: Classic R&B, Soul, Lofi Hip Hop, Chicano Music, Stretch Music, Contemporary Jazz and Funk.
Kat Gallardo, known as “katgrüvs,” is riding the new wave of modern fingerstyle guitarists. A self-taught artist with a solid sense of time and rhythm, she discovers new ways to nurture her passion for percussive fingerstyle guitar arrangementand composition. The name “katgrüvs” captures her innate feel for “grüv” and pocket, a trait steeped in years of playing in jazz, funk, and rock ensembles. A graduate from the University of California, Davis in Mechanical Engineering, she aspires to marryher lifelong passion for music with creative engineering.Kat has shared the stage with and opened for internationally-renowned fingerstyle guitarists such as Van Larkins, Adrian Bellue, Nick Johnson, Janet Noguera, Forest Bailey, and more. She recently performed at the House of Blues in Anaheim in January 2020 alongside fingerstyle legends Kaki King, Muriel Anderson, Christie Lenée, and Vicki Genfan, as part of Fretmonkey Records' Women in Fingerstyle Concert.Kat's debut EP, "Get Grüvy," has been mixed and mastered by Alex Anderson of Candyrat Records and Tree of Life Studio, withalbum artwork and design by Sean De Burca. "Get Grüvy" has been released on all streaming platforms and in physical CD format onJune26, 2020. All proceeds from the sales of this EP will go to benefit the UC Davis Medical Center COVID-19 Fund.
Panel Abstract: Following strong anti-immigrant sentiment directed at Asian populations in the United States, over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, about two-thirds who were American citizens by birth, were incarcerated during WWII. This massive upheaval uprooted communities, forfeited businesses and property, and drastically restructured family life. Both before and after incarceration, Japanese Americans employed narratives of American assimilation and loyalty to resist efforts to exclude them from political-economic life, framing their experience as that of a “model minority.” Decades later, a movement for acknowledgement and gaining redress for those incarcerated was largely championed by children of camp survivors. The redress process was in many ways a rejection of the “model minority,” and promoted healing of intergenerational trauma as well as an explicit goal of preventing similar injustices from occurring again.
Today, the United States has aggressively targeted and incarcerated migrant communities, and minority groups continue to face disproportionate rates of violence, arrest, and incarceration by law enforcement and the judicial system, particularly Black and Latinx communities. These inequities have profound and lasting consequences on generations of Americans. Using lessons from the Japanese American Incarceration and the Redress Movement, our panel will discuss ways in which Asian Americans today can identify and reject formulations of the “model minority” to work in solidarity with affected communities towards decarceration and current movements for redress and reparations.
Our panelists are community organizers and leaders who have fought to preserve the memory of the Japanese American Incarceration so that it might not bear out again in U.S. history. Dr. Satsuki Ina is a survivor of incarceration and one of the founders of Tsuru for Solidarity. Janice Yamaoka Luszczak is the current president of the Sacramento Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. Susan Hayase, a co-founder of San Jose Nikkei Resisters, is a longtime activist and community organizer from San Jose and was part of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations. Lisa Ikemoto (UC Davis) is a professor of bioethics and public health law, and was a lawyer for internment period cases.
TheH!veM!nd is a collective of three artists based in the Bay Area. Zack Westman, Kai Pierce and TJ McCarty all met attending Music Industry courses at Diablo Valley College in 2018, formed a group in 2019, and started releasing music in 2020. Each member brings their own unique strength to the table. Zack the main producer, often guides the recording sessions, coming to the other members with tracks he has already produced in isolation and expressing his vision for the track. Kai, an exceptional producer in his own right, is one of the groups two main vocalists. His wandering melodies and lush harmonies provide a sound that is solely his. TJ McCarty, co-vocalist, provides not only audacious sung vocals, but thought provoking raps and poems as well. While they all have our own individual lanes, none of them feel as though they are confined neatly into one Producer or Vocalist role. They are TheH!veM!nd.
“If I had to describe my artistry, I would categorize it as ‘Combining the smooth tones and grooves of R&B/Soul, with the lyrical freedom and wit of Hip-Hop to evoke an emotional experience.’” Born and raised in South San Francisco, the Bay Area singer-songwriter, rapper and producer, iraya started his journey into music through his mother. “When I was a kid, my mom on her days off would invite me to sing along with her for her karaoke sessions. We would have competitions to see who can get the highest score.” From then on, iraya’s love for the art grew and proceeded to teach himself several instruments and eventually how to produce his own music. Some of his biggest influences include Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, Childish Gambino and especially D’Angelo. The Filipino artist is known for his playful demeanor, smooth, velvety voice and being able to weave an emotional narrative through his music. Iraya has played at the Google in SF, the 626 Night Market, and the illustrious Cornerstone in Berkeley. Incidentally, he was a lead singer in an acapella group that qualified in the ICCA’s and competed in the Reno Jazz Festival. Concurrently, iraya has amassed over 200,000 views on YouTube, 780,000 plays on SoundCloud and over 35,000 streams on Spotify, Eve being his most popular song at 20,000 plays. Iraya and his team are planning to release his upcoming EP, Bittersweet, sometime in
Mid-November, with his single, Money Woes, being released sometime before then.
Singer/Songwriter Davon DeBerry-Martin is an up and coming artist from the Bay Area. During Davon’s 6th grade year attending Oakland School for the arts, he learned of his passion for music and hasn’t looked back since. He has been involved in his church choir and several local talent shows from a young age, and has now began to write and produce original music.
Join artists live for online discussion during the set!
Trace Repeat is a soul and funk band from Oakland, comprised by Ben Peterson, Daniel Wilson, Zach Thorne, Khrizia Kamille, Rei Otsuka, and Wesley Woo. CA. Get down on it.
Hear in Color
Hear In Color is an indie-pop band based out of the East Bay and made up of 5members. Faith Donithan, the lead singer, Valente McNamer on drums/keys, Eli Lozano on bass, Isaiah Selva on guitar/keys/backing vocals and Gerardo Gonzalez on guitar/keys/backing vocals as well. Due to the diverse musical backgrounds of the members, Hear in Color’s music ranges from upbeat pop that uses vibrant synths to slow and steady jazz with warm tones, and even to the classic alternative rock sound. With music up on all platforms and plenty of new music on the way, Hear in Color will never leave you bored and in fact, might even leave you wanting more. Check out their music on Spotify or Apple Music and their music videos on Youtube!
SunBabi is a 4 piece Neo-soul group from the Bay Area and has a mix of different backgrounds and inspirations including everything from Hiatus Kaiyote to Erykah Badu to many more.This music is funky, progressive, and smooth all at the same time. SunBabi is led with sultry and powerful vocals and completed with a mix of drums, piano, guitar, bass, and percussion.
Busy Lighthouse is a rock band that originated from the East Bay Area of California, consisting of Jesús Rico (Vocals/Guitar), Isaiah Selva (Bass Guitar/Vocals), Gerardo González (Guitar/Keys) and Josh Zucker (Drums/Vocals). Each of the members has a diverse taste in music that helps influence the band’s raw and unique sound. The band’s different styles of genres range from alternative, hard rock, grunge, punk, experimental, and indie. Busy Lighthouse has released two studio albums: “Memories & Unrealities” and “A Place We’re All The Same”. Inspirations and influences within the group range from Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Strokes, Foo Fighters, The Beatles, System Of A Down, Iron Maiden, The Scorpions, Muse, Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, and many more. More music is coming, including a single and an upcoming album. Stay tuned and stay safe!
Flowing like a river out of the Sierra Nevada foothills into Sacramento, CA, indie rock outfit Güero has grown into a diverse musical act that does not neatly fit into any musical genre. Starting as whimsical ideas and melodies in the mind of vocals/guitarist Rik Krull, the band grew into its current sound with the addition of Russell Volksen on Bass, Mike Ruiz on Drums, and finally Shea Ritchie on Keyboards. It soon became clear their chemistry was noticeable and their time together organically resulted in new levels of collaboration and creativity. Their sound is a melodic mix of punctual bass and keyboards, pulsating drums, and woodsy guitars, with beautiful, reverb-laden vocals coalesced into striking pop songs and ballads. Their music has an openness that is result of lengthy jamming and experimentation driven between other’s emanating energy and rhythm.
With music by Lo & The Mix!
Lo & the Mix is a Davis based band that synthesizes elements of rock, funk, r&b and jazz to create an eclectic assortment of music. Lo has played in Davis, Sacramento, and the Bay Area, pleasing audiences with skillful song craft and a groovy funk fusion influenced by artists such as Khruangbin, Snarky Puppy, and Led Zeppelin. The collective’s fluid lineup currently includes Bennett Hannan (guitar & vocals), John Hancock (bass), Robbie Linden (drums), Micah Marmorstein (trumpet & vocals), Caleb Sanders (alto sax & vocals), and Caleb Chen (guitar). Lo’s music is constantly evolving and is sure to surprise and charm old and new listeners with pipin’ hot horn lines, atmospheric vocals, funkalicious bass and drum grooves and silky smooth guitar riffs. Get it hoppin’!