On a chilly Saturday afternoon in Shin Urayasu in Meikai Univeristy‘s gymnasium a group of residents, students, and music lovers all gathered to hear the musical stylings of Nii Tete, Big System, Samm Bennet, S&H and the vibe on the street moves of White Hat.
The concert was UFRA (Urayasu Foreign Residents Association) with help by the City of Urayasu and Meikai University. The event was hosted and emceed by myself. Something I hadn’t planned on doing until more or less the last minute when I channeled a bit of my brothers DNA as I gripped the mic and did my part to help boost the concerts energy.
The music was thrilling mixture of mountain neo-Americana, African drums, and and Japanese inspired rhythms. The beats and rhythms went straight to my soul. The world culture blended right before our eyes and penetrated our ears.
Even though I was the emcee and had a camera holstered though out the show I so wanted to get on a drum and join in the beat making.
First up was Nii Tete and his kpanlogo Drums. His beat making was incredible. I am sure for many in the audience they had never heard drums as the featured instrument. Nii’s hands moved to quickly for my shutter. The lyrics spilled forth from his heart and raised the temperature in the gymnasium.
After about 20 minutes Nii was joined on stage by Samm Bennet for the duo of Big System. Samm’s music is firmly rooted in the blues of the deep south. It was moving to see the blues journey back to their own African. The common language being the rhythm of the drums as the two talked back and forth though the twangs and thumps of their instruments.
After a short intermission and clearing of the stage the lights dimmed and the street dance moves of White Hat studio took the stage. In three groups each took 3 minutes and showed off their skills of popping and locking, street dancing, and hip hop moves. The little shorties rocked the stage and mesmerized all the youngsters.
Next up was Habu and Samm Bennett of S&H. Habu had strapped on two sets of ankle bells to each foot and danced around the stage while banging on his home make drum. Samm’s soulful voice brought me back to the days I never knew of hanging around the country juke joint. I traveled through time with S&H. Their last song featured the squeaks and squeals of two rubber pigs. I don’t think anyone in attendance will ever forget those singing pigs.
By the time the last song, and the last of the chairs put away every drop of energy had been expended to bring this charity concert to life. I am thankful for all the help I received in helping to bring help to the children of Tohoku.
Samm Bennet – Polarity Records
Megumi Uesugi – Assistant Professor, Meikai University Hospitality and Tourism Department
Gemba – dj honda records japan
Hamada – White Hat Studio
Aaron Randall – Sound
Naho Kuroda – Translation
UFRA Chair and Committee Members
Faculty and Students of the Meikai University Hospitality and Tourism Department
Till the next charity event. Thank you again to all that helped and came out!