Chindon-ya, once a fairly common sight on Japanese streets, are bands of singers and musicians hired to promote products or services to passersby. The high-energy form of promotion is a disappearing art, but one group has brought the fun Stateside for a rousing tour that makes stops in Southern California beginning Oct. 18.
The all female group Bentenya from Nagoya are making their U.S. debut with a nationwide series of concerts, from New York to Tijuana, playing their fun-filled brand of Japanese folk songs, J-pop, anime, American pop and music from all over the world.
Chindon-ya is an advertising campaign – named for the sounds of cymbals and drums – unique to Japan, but now becoming rare. The performers are characterized by flashy costumes, playing instruments and wearing advertising posters on their instruments or backs while marching down the streets.
Since forming in 2008, Bentenya won several prizes before starting as a professional act in 2011. The group won the National Chindon Competition in 2015 and is gaining popularity across the globe. Bentenya plays a classical array of chindon instruments – bells, drums, saxophone, trumpet and accordion. Jokes and peppy songs make for a rousing time for audiences.
Bentenya are scheduled to perform at this year’s Orange County Japan Fair, Oct. 18-20 at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa. Visit www.oc-japanfair.com for more information and concert times.
Bentenya members Suzie (saxophone, drums) and Suzuko (clarinet) are also scheduled to speak and perform on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Terasaki Nibei Foundation, 11570 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles. Optional dinner ($10) at 6 p.m., presentation (free) at 7 p.m. Reserve seats by Oct. 17. Contact Naoko Okada, coordinator, at (310) 479-6101, ext. 134 or nokad[email protected], or visit www.nibei.org.
Visit the group’s website: https://bentenya.jp/en/