2019 / Los Angeles: Okinawa Shuri Castle Benefit Campaign kicked off by Okinawa Association of America, Nov. 22

Okinawa-based duo Merry Gushi and David Ralston of Okinawa Americana and members of the Okinawa Association of America at Fruit of The Spirit Lutheran Church in North Torrance. (Cultural News Photo)

The Okinawa Association of America began fund drive for the restoration of the Shuri Castle which was ravaged by fire on October 31.

Immediately after the breaking news of the Shuri Castle fire in Okinawa, the Okinawa Association’s office in Gardena started to receive phone calls offering donations for Shuri Castle restoration.

In addition to collecting donations at the OAA office, the association kicked off the Shuri Castle campaign by sponsoring benefit concert with Okinawa-based duo Merry Gushi and David Ralston of Okinawa Americana, on Friday, Nov. 22 in North Torrance.

In Friday night, Merry Gushi and David Ralston performed before 50 audiences for one hour at Fruit of The Spirit Lutheran Church in North Torrance. The church provided the venue for the benefit concert for free.

Okinawa Americana’s original songs consist of Okinawan folk songs and American blues, but their melodies are not mixed with each other, rather than the duo sings their part alternately.

Merry Gushi said, “It is possible because old Okinawan folk songs go on the same code as American blues.” The duo was formed in Okinawa five years ago.

Merry Gushi also said. “October 31 was my birthday. We had my birthday celebration on a cruise ship in Okinawa. It was totally shock for me to watch burning the Shuri Castle for eleven hours. Losing the Shuri Castle is very sad thing. But once we could rebuild the Shuri Castle with helps from people around the world, the Shuri Castle would be not only for Okinawan people but also for people around the world.

Along with the sponsorship of the Okinawa Association of America, the duo Okinawa Americana made the direct booking and performed at as following venues:

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7:30 pm, Habuya Okinawa Dining, 14215 Red Hill Ave, Tustin, CA 92780
Friday, Nov. 22, 7:30 pm, Fruit of the Spirit Lutheran Church, 2706 West 182nd Street, Torrance, CA 90504.
Saturday, Nov. 23, 6:30 pm, Bob’s Hawaiian Style Restaurant, 15926 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247.