TORRANCE — The Los Angeles Branch of Ryūkyū Sōkyoku Kōyōkai, a classical Okinawan koto ensemble, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. at the James R. Armstrong Theatre in Torrance.
Entitled “Hibiki Wataru” (The Journey of Sound), this concert will explore centuries of Okinawan performing arts with a focus on the koto. Other Okinawan traditional instruments, including the sanshin (a snake-skinned shamisen), kucho (a bowed instrument), fwanso (a transverse flute), and two-piece taiko set, will be played with the koto. Okinawan buyō (traditional dance), characterized by its graceful movements and vibrant costumes, will accompany select pieces of music.
This program provides a wonderful opportunity to see 17 master musicians and dancers traveling from Okinawa, including Chōichi Terukina, a National Living Treasure of Japan. Special guest artists from Hawaii will also join local musicians.
Ritsuko Ashimine, a celebrated journalist and personality in Okinawa, will co-emcee the event with Joseph Jones of the school of dance Tamagusuku Ryu Kansen-Kai Yonamine Keiko Ryubu Dojo. In addition to music and dance, there will be a fashion show featuring traditional costumes from the Ryukyu Kingdom.
The Kōyōkai L.A. was established in 1964 under the guidance of Miyo Miyagi (president) and Sachiko Kakazu (vice president) to preserve and perpetuate classical koto music of Okinawa. Over the years, the Kōyōkai membership has grown to over 50 koto musicians with several musicians achieving the status of kyoshi (teaching certification) and seven achieving the highest rank of shihan (master certification). Under the leadership and more than 50 years of teaching and performance experience of current President Katsuko Teruya, the Los Angeles Branch of Ryūkyū Sōkyoku Kōyōkai is happy to present this momentous concert for your enjoyment.
Advance tickets are $30 and may be purchased from Kōyōkai members (LAKoyokai@gmail.com) or the Okinawa Association of America (OAA) in Gardena, (310) 532-1929. There will be a limited number of tickets sold at the door for $35. For more information, visit facebook.com/LAKoyokai.