Two cultural traditions merged on Nov. 3 in Little Tokyo as Great Leap and the Chicano band Quetzal presented “FandangObon.” Members of the Japanese American and Mexican American communities gathered in the JACCC Plaza to learn each other’s dances and music, and combine them.
Nobuko Miyamoto, founder and artistic director of Great Leap, and Martha Gonzalez, lead singer of Quetzal.
Quetzal Flores, founder of Quetzal, dances the “Tanko Bushi.”
Guest musicians Luis Sarmiento on jarana and George Abe on taiko. Songs included “Bon Odori Uta,” “Ichigo Ichie,” “Siqui Siri,” “La Guacamaya,” “La Bamba” and “El Zapateado.”
Nobuko Miyamoto’s “Mottainai” (meaning “Don’t be wasteful”), now a standard at local Obon festivals, was performed by Carla Vega, Atomic Nancy Sekizawa, Martha Gonzalez and the Mottainai Kids.
Revs. Ryuta Furumoto and Mas Kodani, current and former ministers of Senshin Buddhist Temple. Similarities between Japan’s Obon and Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) were discussed.
All of the singers, musicians and dancers joined in the closing number, “Bambutsu.”
Artists Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara served as emcees.
Choreographer Elaine Fukumoto taught the dances to the uninitiated
Left: Hiroshima drummer Danny Yamamoto tries a new dance step. Right: JACCC CEO Leslie Ito and Johnny Mori of Kinnara Taiko.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo