“Transpacific Musiclands” Celebrates Japanese/Latinx Cultural Exchange and Collaboration

I have a friend in Tokyo. His name is Shin Miyata. For the past 17 years, Shin has been running an independent music label called Barrio Gold Records. He primarily distributes groups from across Latin America, but his specialty is Chicano music from East Los Angeles. He also brings bands from East LA to Japan to perform live.

Nobody else in Japan is doing this kind of work.

I met Shin back in 2000, when I had the opportunity to go with the band Quetzal to Tokyo to document their tour. I learned that Shin had lived in the East LA neighborhood of City Terrace as a college student in the mid-1980s, doing a study-abroad home stay. He had been deeply inspired by Chicano books, films, and music—specifically 1970s bands like El Chicano and Tierra—and he had come to LA because he wanted to experience the Chicano culture first hand. He even took Chicano Studies classes at East LA College.

Shin Miyata. Photo by Rafael Cardenas.

On a recent visit to Los Angeles, Shin told me that it was his dream to bring over musicians from Japan so they could perform with musicians from East LA. Specifically, he wanted to bring Japanese musicians that play different types of Latin music. He believed that audiences would appreciate the heart and soul they put into the music, and that it would be amazing to see this sort of collaboration.

Thus, the idea for Transpacific Musiclands was born.

The Japanese American National Museum, located in Little Tokyo just across the bridge from Boyle Heights and East LA, would be the perfect venue. Shin would curate the event, drawing on some of the many Chicano bands he has worked with, and also selecting musicians from Japan to participate. The event would celebrate his work as a cultural ambassador while also encouraging unity and collaboration during a time of great political and ideological division worldwide.

Held in conjunction with the groundbreaking exhibition Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo, Transpacific Musiclands will take over the JANM plaza on Saturday, October 14, 5–9:30pm. Featured acts will include Quetzal, El Haru Kuroi, and La Chamba. Conjunto J, a group from Osaka that plays Mexican border music, will join in, along with Tex Nakamura, East LA Taiko, and poets Luis J. Rodriguez and Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara. There will be DJ sets by Gomez Comes Alive and the man himself, Shin Miyata.

Each of the featured artists has benefited from Shin’s work, but they also share a deep affection for him. He has worked to create cultural exchanges and understanding between East LA and Japan for many years, and in doing so, has built a strong network of loyal friends.

Along with all of this incredible music, the Okamoto Kitchen food truck will be there, along with a beer garden by Angel City Brewery. Concertgoers will also be able to check out the exhibitions inside the museum till 8 p.m.

You can get your tickets right HERE.

Transpacific Musiclands is supported by Los Angeles County Arts Commission. It is
held in conjunction with the exhibition
Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo, which is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Awkward ‘n’ Awesome Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie THE CRUMBLES screening at JANM on Sat Jan 25!

crumbles still

THE CRUMBLES is an indie rock slice-of-life tragicomedy about Darla and Elisa, two young women struggling to catapult their talented but directionless garage band to stardom. Called “elegant and affectionate” by the LA Times, this lighthearted romp across the east side of Los Angeles offers a fun and realistic portrait of what it’s like to be in a fledgling band. Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.

Directed by Akira Boch and featuring music by Grammy winner Quetzal Flores.

Cast and Crew will be in attendance.

This is a FREE EVENT!

When: SATURDAY, JANUARY 25 @ 7pm

Where: Tateuchi Democracy Forum
Japanese American National Museum
111 N. Central Ave., LA, CA 90012

Sponsored by the Japanese American National Museum

FREE BEER reception to follow, sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company

Afterparty at Wolf & Crane in Little Tokyo starts at 10pm

More info: thecrumbles.com

Check out The Crumbles on Facebook

The Crumbles @ JANM Sat. Jan 25

9066 to 911 DVD

9066 to 9/11 — JANM-Produced Film Available on Comcast!

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the JANM-produced film “FROM 9066 TO 9/11” is available in Comcast’s cable VOD service, Cinema Asian America for the month of September.

About the film:

After the attacks of September 11, there was an instant public backlash against Arab Americans and Muslims.  Anyone who looked like the “enemy” became suspect.  The same thing happened to Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the parallels were obvious.  Unfortunately, the backlash against Japanese Americans during World War II resulted in the mass incarceration of 120,000 innocent people.  It became the mission of many Japanese American individuals and community groups, including the Japanese American National Museum, to use our community’s history in order to protect the rights of our Arab American and Muslim brothers and sisters. As we all know, if we forget our history, we may find ourselves repeating it.

Features interviews with: Yuri Kochiyama, Rev. Art Takemoto, Jerry Kang, Dr. Art Hansen, Linda Sherif, Ban Al-Wardi, Tajuddin Shuaib, and Evelyn Yoshimura.

About the VOD service, Cinema Asian America:

Cinema Asian America is a ground-breaking new video-on-demand offering, which features Asian American films and videos in a monthly, thematically-programmed format.

For the first time, millions of viewers across the nation are able to watch a curated series of Asian American and Asian films, which will collect together award-winning films fresh from the film festival circuit and classics which beg to be revisited.

From September 1, 2011 – September 31, 2011, “FROM 9066 TO 9/11” will be available to all Comcast digital cable subscribers with On-Demand.  It is available for $0.99/view.

9066 to 911 DVD

To watch:

Through your digital cable menu, click on the “On Demand” button, and then look under the “Movies” folder. In this will be a “Movie Collections” folder and inside of this viewers will find “Cinema Asian America” and will be able to access “FROM 9066 to 9/11.”

Thank you, and please help spread the word!

p.s. For those who don’t have Comcast but are interested in watching the film, it’s available on DVD from the Museum Store.