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Your weekend: Rhythmix’s Island to Island Arts Festival

Submitted by on 1, February 24, 2011 – 12:04 amNo Comment

Chieko Kojima performs at the Island to Island Art Festival. Contributed photo.

Rhythmix Cultural Works celebrates ancient Japanese arts with a modern twist with the first in a series of performances billed as an Island to Island Arts Festival. Tickets for the Japanese taiko and dance performances, which are at 8 p.m. March 4-5, are $20 in advance and $25 on the night of each show, and are available online or at the door.

Alameda’s own Maze Daiko will offer their unorthodox combination of traditional taiko drum rhythms and non-traditional instruments like the marimba, santur and djembe; high-energy choreography and cross-cultural grooves. Also on the bill are Japanese folk dancer Chieko Kojima and Kaoru Watanabe, a New York-based fue (bamboo flute) player and an eight-year member of Kodo, an elite taiko drumming ensemble based in Japan.

In addition to the performances, Kojima and Watanabe will offer a pair of workshops from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. Kojima will teach a folkloric dance workshop and Watanabe a fue workshop. Both workshops are open to performers at all levels. Admission is $35 for each, and online preregistration is available until the day before the workshop.

Rhythmix’s Tina Blaine said the presentation of traditional music with a contemporary twist is the thrust of the series, and she’s hopeful it will engage this Island community with the music of other island communities.

“In addition to supporting emerging and established Bay Area artists, it is our hope that launching a multicultural arts festival will enhance Alameda’s image as an arts destination thus having a synergistic effect in revitalizing the local business community,” Blaine said.

In addition to next week’s workshops and concerts, the festival will feature a May 7 salsa dance concert with Edgardo Cambon and Candela and a family percussion workshop that will celebrate the music of Cuba and Puerto Rico and a June 4 performance from Gamelan Sekar Jaya, who will offer Balinese music and dance with live gamelan (it’s Island music featuring xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes and more).

The performances are being presented with the assistance of the Zellerbach Family Foundation and East Bay Community Foundation, and the workshops with the help of Kodo Arts Sphere America.

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