Minyo Station performs during the 2010 Nisei Week Queen coronation, at the Japan America Theatre in Little Tokyo. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Los Angeles-based Japanese folk song ensemble Minyo Station has released its first album,“Cultural Twist,” and will host a CD release concert on Saturday, May 26, at the Alvas Showroom, 1417 W. Eighth St. in San Pedro.

Doors open 2:30 p.m. for the 3 o’clock show. Admission is $20 and includes coffee, tea and snacks.

Under music director and lead guitarist Yu Ooka, Minyo Station crafts a new genre, combining the sound of minyo (Japanese folk music) with modern musical styles and the influences and skills of a new generation of artists.

Like the wind, the sound of minyo blows freely from east to west. Minyo Station’s sound is both unique yet familiar, a multi-cultural twist that melds western elements of  rock, R&B and jazz with the melodies and structure of minyo compositions that have been passed down for generations through the many villages of Japan.

Minyo Station was established in 2008 and has performed extensively throughout Southern California and in San Francisco to multi-cultural, enthusiastic audiences of all ages, playing both traditional and fusion styles.

The group’s mission is to simply preserve music from the past, respecting and understanding that the music played may convey an emotion, a memory, a special moment shared with loved ones.

Performers scheduled for the release include Ooka, vocalist Marisa Kosugi, Dane Matsumura on bass, Miles Senzaki on drums, Dave Iwataki on keyboards, singer and percussionist Summer Natsu, Loryce Hashimoto on shamisen, and taiko player Nana Kaneko.

Advance tickets for the May 26 concert and party can be purchased through the online store. Registration confirmation will be sent by email.
More information on the Alvas Showroom is available here.

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