GenRyu Arts’ 17th Anniversary Concert

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Odori performance at last year’s GenRyu Arts concert. (Photo by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Celebrating its 17th year of serving the Japanese and Asian American communities, GenRyu Arts will present its annual concert on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 12:30 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco Japantown.

Hideko Nakajima, who leads the shamisen ensemble Hideki Kai. (Photo by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo)

This year’s theme is “Taki” (The Waterfall). The afternoon concert will feature the company’s core performing ensemble, Artist-in-Residence Hideko Nakajima Sensei and her group, Hideki Kai, on shamisen; vocalist Kaori Nakano; kotoist Shoko Hikage; and a special guest from Japan, Noriko Sugiyama of Ayu Tsubo Taiko.

Also featured will be the intergenerational membership of Genryu Arts’ taiko and dance school.

GenRyu Arts is directed by its founder, Melody Takata, a multifaceted artist trained in Japanese classical dance (Fujima School), taiko (Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko, Tokyo’s O Edo Sukeroku Taiko) and shamisen (Kineya School). She completed the Alliance for California Traditional Arts master apprentice program for 2002-03 on shamisen with Nakajima and has re-established her study with Madame Fujima Kansuma to ensure a high standard of integration of odori into GenRyu Arts’ repertoire.

Gen Ensemble is the performing arm of GenRyu Arts and consists of teenagers and young adults who have grown up learning taiko and other Japanese performing arts under Takata’s guidance and tutelage. They are also leaders within the organization and assist Takata in teaching classes and planning performances. Current members are Megan Lee, Nicholas Low, Wesley Hitomo Yee, Jenna Lee and Brian Ebisuzaki.

Nakajima has been performing traditional Japanese music professionally for over 45 years and was also a child star in Japan, singing and playing the accordion. She received her junshihan degree in 1983 from Hideo Fujimoto, founder of the Fujimoto School of Shamisen in Tokyo, and in 1985 received her shihan degree, which allowed her to form her own shamisen ensemble. She also teaches voice.

Tickets are $25 at the door, $20 in advance, $15 for youth and seniors. To purchase, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.genryuarts.org.

Funded by: SFAC CEG, Zellerbach Family Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grants for the Arts, National Endowments for the Arts, California Arts Council, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Performers combine dance and drumming. (Photo by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo)

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