Musco Center Presents:
Kishi Bashi & Davíd Garza
Artists in Response to Incarceration:
Roundtable & Select Performances
VIRTUAL EVENT Livestream
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 7:00 p.m. PST
Revered Japanese-American musician, composer, and singer Kishi Bashi returns to Chapman University March 3, this time online. He is joined by Mexican-American singer-songwriter Davíd Garza. The pair will share their hearts on the powerful topic of incarceration and perform some of the songs they’ve been inspired to create.
Artists in Response to Incarceration is the 17th @THEMUSCO-Online event since Musco Center launched the series to remain engaged with our audiences in the face of COVID-19 theater closures. The online series expands on the topic of cultural equity, previously advanced pre-Covid through Musco Center’s live programming.
According to Musco Center Executive Director Richard T. Bryant, “his livestreamed virtual event is a continuation of the relationship Musco Center and Kishi Bashi have built over the past three years, including workshops with music students in the College of Performing Arts, and engagement in Chapman University’s proposed WWII Japanese-American Incarceration Memory Project in collaboration with Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries; Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and Fish Interfaith Center.”
In order to advance the conversation in preparation for his return next year, Kishi Bashi was invited to propose a topic to be included in this cultural equity series. Rooted in the uncompromising musical statement of his album, Omoiyari, which channels the unconstitutional incarceration American citizens of Japanese descent, Kishi Bashi expressed alarm over the turbulent sociopolitical atmosphere of present-day America and the wide-spread incarceration both on the border and throughout the country. At Musco Center’s request, he invited his fellow musician and arts activist Davíd Garza, to join him @THEMUSCO to expand on the past and present of this vital issue.
Garza, a third-generation Mexican-American Texas native, is known for his extensive work as a producer, session musician, composer, and visual artist. His use of songs from the 1970’s Chicano civil rights movement in protest of family detention and separation in El Paso, brought to light the impact music has in fighting injustice. His subsequent recording on the border with Chamanas native Paulina Reza singing on the Mexican side, and American-native Garza’s singing in the United States, brought a more modern meaning to the decade-old bolero ballad about family separation entitled “Beseme Mucho.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of Kaoru Ishibashi, a Seattle-born artist who grew up in Norfolk, Virginia the son of professors at Old Dominion University. In 1994 he entered Berklee College of Music to study film scoring and violin.
Now an internationally revered violinist, Ishibashi records and tours the world with a diverse range of artists including Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and the indie rock band of Montreal, which like him is now based in Athens, Georgia. He was the singer and founding member of the New York electronic rock outfit Jupiter One before launching a solo recording and performing career. Kishi Bashi, whose Musco Center appearances in recent years have earned him a devoted following, is a favorite of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert program. Bob Boilen of NPR's "All Songs Considered" said that out of some 1,300 songs previewed for All Songs Considered one year, Kishi Bashi was the one musician "we all agreed was a must-see at SXSW: He didn't disappoint."
As with Ibashi’s previous visit to Musco Center, he was set to conduct workshops for music students and faculty in Chapman University's College of Performing Arts and show segments of his documentary, Omoiyari about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Omoiyari, the album and movie, ask us to imagine being forced from our home and sent to a prison camp with no trial and no promise of release simply because of the language they spoke, the shade of their skin, or the roots of their family tree. This was a reality for more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. It is this reality that Kishi Bashi seeks to reckon with in his album and accompanying documentary, Omoiyari.
“I didn’t want this project to be about history, but rather the importance of history, and the lessons we can learn,” he said. “I gravitated toward themes of empathy, compassion, and understanding as a way to overcome fear and intolerance. But I had trouble finding an English title for the piece. 'Omoiyari' is a Japanese word. It doesn't necessarily translate as empathy, but it refers to the idea of creating compassion towards other people by thinking about them. I think the idea of omoiyari is the single biggest thing that can help us overcome aggression and conflict.”
A third-generation Mexican-American, Davíd Garza came to Austin in the fall of 1989 on a classical guitar scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin. Since that time, he has become a local celebrity being voted second behind Stevie Ray Vaughan as Austin Musician of the Decade (Austin Chronicle) and having March 12, 2011 declared “Davíd Garza Day”.
Balancing experimental sounds with the accessible, Garza’s music draws from pop, twang, electronic, and traditional Latin sounds. He is a gifted multi-instrumentalist who writes with the heart of a poet. He is also a painter who has exhibited both in Austin and Los Angeles and serves on the SIMS Foundation, an organization that addresses the musical community’s health care needs. His arts activism also is firmly planted in his Mexican-American roots. He is a recurring participant in the Hencho En Tejas series which shines a light on Tejano culture and has been an outspoken critic about the long-running and contentious debate over immigration and the forcible separation of children and their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He has collaborated or performed with Nickel Creek, Rhett Miller, Juliana Hatfield, Alejandro Escovedo, the Revolting Cocks, Gaby Moreno, Margaret Cho, Jon Brion, Grant Lee Phillips, Jackson Brown, John Paul Jones, Los Lobos, Pearl Jam, St. Vincent, Meshell Ndegeocello, Andrew Bird, Natalia LaFourcade, Chris Thile, Ben Harper, and Fiona Apple. Most recently, Garza composed the original score for HBO film’s Running with Beto and co-produced, performed on and created the artwork for Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters.
Artist, date, time, and program subject to change.
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