2011: Japan’s Living National Treasure to lead Okinawa concert, Mar 19, 7:00PM

Okinawa 3 Strings Concert

Three strings, pulled taut across a thin ebony neck, and balanced over a narrow bamboo bridge, stretch tightly across a body framed in wood and wrapped in python skin. That is the sanshin, an instrument as simple—and as richly complex—as its description. In the hands of sanshin master Choichi Terukina, the resonance of the sanshin beckons to the heart of Ryukyu Kingdom, the ancient name of the Okinawa archipelago.

Mr. Choichi Terukina, recognized as a Living National Treasure of Japan for his performance of Classical Okinawan music as known as Ryukyu Koten, will take the stage on Saturday, March 19, at 7:00 pm at the Center for Early Education’s Community Center, 563 North Alered Street, West Hollywood, CA 90048, to introduce the recently formed Choichi Kai Los Angeles, the inaugural branch of his sanshin studio in Los Angeles.

The concert program, “3 Strings, Songs of Okinawa” will mark his first performance with the freshman in the Los Angeles studio. In addition to the Los Angeles group, members of the accomplished Afuso-ryu Gensei Kai Hawaii will join Mr. Terukina onstage.

Mr. Grant “Sandaa” Murata, a protégé of Mr. Terukina, and a recognized master of sanshin in his own right, fronts the list of accomplished Afuso-ryu Gensei Kai Hawaii sanshin players.

Several Classical Okinawan music standards are slated for the performance, and Mr. Terukina has invited a number of Los Angeles based Okinawan dance instructors to perform classical Ryukyu dance alongside him and his students.

The koto, often referred to as the Japanese harp, is an instrument that also plays prominently in Okinawan Classical music. Los Angeles koto players, under the instruction of koto master Katsuko Teruya, will also be featured on the varied program.

The vibrant songs of Okinawa tell the story of the place, once a proud kingdom that welcomed visitors from China, Korea, Japan — even missionaries and traders of the West. In Renaissance days, Okinawa was a crossroads of trade, where cultures mixed and influenced one another, each leaving its mark on the tiny island nation.

The concert, “3 Strings, Songs of Okinawa” will take place on Saturday, March 19, at 7:00 pm, at The Center for Early Education, Community Center, 563 North Alfred Street, West Hollywood, CA 90048. Call (323) 988-1079, or email LAshibu@gmail.com for tickets. Tickets are available for $25 before the show or $30 at the door. Students are $20 with current student identification.