Otonowa Plans Return Tour to Japan

Otonowa Plans Return Tour to Japan

For most of us, the March 2011 devastating tsunami and earthquake with loss of 19,000 lives and more than 300,000 displaced in Northern Japan is a distant memory. Yet, for those in the Tohoku region where the quake had its greatest impact, many lives are still on hold as communities are being rebuilt.

Takahiro Dai is a high school trumpet-playing student who lost contact with his family for two days after the earthquake and still has not been able to return to his home in Otsuchi. Last March, on the second anniversary of the quake, Takahiro, along with his family, were treated to an uplifting Otonowa jazz concert, and he was able to participate in jazz clinics with his fellow students.

Otonowa, a fiscally-sponsored project of the San Jose Jazz Festival, is a jazz quartet (of Japanese U.S. and Japanese-born musicians) led by renown drummer Akira Tana, with Masaru Koga on reeds, percussion and traditional Japanese instruments, Art Hirahara on piano and Noriyuki Ken Okada on bass, with guest vocalist Saki Kono.

The group came together after the earthquake to raise funds for earthquake victims. One of their concerts was live streamed, so those in Japan could participate and understand the extent of support they had from Americans. Out of this effort grew Otonowa (Sound Circle), a recording project of jazz interpretations of traditional Japanese folk songs.

On the third anniversary of the earthquake, Otonowa toured the Tohoku region and gave community concerts and clinics to high school students like Takaki. Most of the participants families were still living in temporary housing with their futures uncertain. Many of those listening were brought to tears upon hearing the folk songs, which provided an emotional connection to their homes and villages, and were thrilled to receive a copy of the CD.

As a result of the continuing interest in having Otonowa return, Otonowa is planning a return tour in July 2014 to the ravaged Tohoku region to play a week's worth of concerts and clinics.

As before, the musicians will donate their time for the Tohoku concerts and clinics. Otonowa is currently fundraising to cover their costs. So far over $5000 of the $20,000 budget has been raised. We hope you might be able to contribute any amount to get us closer to our goal.

Tax deductible contributions can be made to San Jose Jazz, sanjosejazz.org online (http://www.sanjosejazz.vbotickets.com/donations/1298) with "Otonowa" indicated on the Comments line. Contributions can also be sent to:

San Jose Jazz
4 North 2nd Street, Suite 576
San Jose, CA 95113
with checks made out to San Jose Jazz, with Otonowa written in the subject line. San Jose Jazz Tax I.D. is 77-0140627

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