Creating a Community Song

Here's an obon song, I helped create for the 75th Anniversary of Seattle's Bon Odori. My taiko player friend Karen asked me to help out. In less than four meetings, we created and rehearsed this tribute to Seattle's past as well as a new dance song for future generations.

2015 Seattle Obon Video

Seattle Omoide Ondo
Ji-chan, ba-chan, odori ni koi.
To-san, ka-san, kodomo mo koi.
Shinseki kamawazu minna de koi.

Ah,
The summer time would be strange without song or dance.
Bon Odori makes me feel alive;
Se-a-to-ru romance.

Ev'ryone ( ) kachi kachi ( ) all in sync.
Colorful kimono fill the streets.
Taiko keeps the beat.

Ji-chan, ba-chan, odori ni koi.
To-san, ka-san, kodomo mo koi.
Shinseki kamawazu minna de koi.

Ah...
Together young and old gather on Main Street.
Queens and Pirates circle round and round,
dancing in the heat.

I eat somen and yaki onigiri.
Ev'ry year my fingers get sticky
from eating kori.

Ji-chan, ba-chan, odori ni koi.
To-san, ka-san, kodomo mo koi.
Shinseki kamawazu minna de koi.

Ah...
I nod to friends and to those who have passed away.
Sensei Kiki dances next to me
on this happy day.

The sun goes down on the lanterns; they sway and yawn.
I watch children as they learn new songs.
The future carries on.

Ji-chan, ba-chan, odori ni koi.
To-san, ka-san, kodomo mo koi.
Shinseki kamawazu minna de koi.
Thanks to Karen Akada Sakata, Dennis Yamashita and Yukie Fujiwara for their great voices, Esther Sugai for her awesome fue music, and Marcia Takamura for her enthusiastic kagegoes and shimisen playing that kept us all in line. I was in the UK when this was first performed in 2007, but heard that dance instructors Gwen and Suzanne made a super up-beat dance with kachi kachi.

2011 White River Buddhist Temple Bon Odori Video

Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

Byron Au Yong & Christopher Yohmei Blasdel: BreathPlay
BreathPlay

Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Kidnapping Water:
Bottled Operas
Byron Au Yong: Yiju
YIJU 移居