Get Down in J-Town this Saturday

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The 1980s funk group Lakeside headlines Saturday’s music series at the JACCC in Little Tokyo.

Little Tokyo will welcome friends, neighbors and music lovers across Southern California to experience local flavor with a touch of old school R&B, during the inaugural Legacy Harmony Music Series and Zoku this Saturday.

The event is hosted by the Little Tokyo Business Association/Little Tokyo Business Improvement District and Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, along with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California.  These business associations hope to turn this first-time musical festival into an annual event.

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A free public concert will take place in the open-air JACCC Plaza in front of the Aratani Theatre from noon to 4 p.m. The day will feature a variety of emerging artists and cultural events, providing attendees with the opportunity to explore and visit the many hidden treasures within Little Tokyo such as: fine dining, unique boutiques, great art and culture for the entire family. The outdoor concert is financed by the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District and administered by the LTBA.

“We view this as an exciting opportunity to build community collaborations and a pathway for greater Los Angeles to embrace our community’s culture, heritage and local history, by way of Little Tokyo-based performances jazz fusion and R&B music,” said Wilson Liu, president of Little Tokyo Business Association.

This explosive day of entertainment and culture is highlighted by an evening concert, beginning at 7 p.m. inside the Aratani Theatre. Featuring old school R&B sensations A Taste of Honey with Janice-Marie Johnson and the Original Lakeside, guests will also showcase “Irasshai (Welcome) Community Rhythms,” a joint performance by Yoki Daiko and Kinnara, two taiko drum groups affiliated with Tenrikyo Church and Senshin Buddhist Temple.

Kinnara Taiko will perform at the free concert in the JACCC Plaza. (Richard Murakami)

This collaboration of music and culture has its roots in the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science’s Jazz At Drew music festival, one of Southern California’s most popular music and charity events with a stellar lineup of jazz, blues, gospel and R&B greats dating as far back as 1996. Inspired by Roland Hayes Betts, the founder and producer of Jazz At Drew, Zoku (the core volunteer support group producing the event) continues that partnership as it promotes its mission of building cultural bridges through music, education and commerce.

“Ultimately it is the community that benefits from the increased awareness of the rich diversity and culture that we have right here in our local area,” said Betts. “It is a pleasure to continue the concept of building bridges through multicultural entertainment to reach common ground and achieve a common goal.”

This year’s legacy sponsor is Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. A portion of the proceeds from the evening concert benefit the Japanese American Treaty Centennial Scholarship Fund, Mrs. Lillian Mobley Presidential Endowed Fund and the JACCC Families and Children Programs. Tickets are available online at www.jaccc.org and at the Aratani Theatre the day of the show.

“It is a special thing when associations like ours can give back to the community with the gift of music,” said Liu. “Little Tokyo Live 2013 is the best way our respective groups can embrace our city’s diversity via the Japanese American heritage of Little Tokyo and embrace our differences while enjoying a day of music.”

For more information, see www.thezoku.com.

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