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Okinawa City offers international music and friendship

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-06-20

Music fans and those interested in becoming more involved with the international community here on Okinawa will be happy to know that Okinawa City is presenting a series of music workshops that will take place in July at the Working Woman's Workshop, located next to the Okinawa City Civic Center. There will be a total of four sessions which will focus on both Japanese music and music from abroad. Lisa Lawn, who is the Coordinator for International Relations for Okinawa City and the organizer of the event explained that, "The main goal is to introduce Japanese music to foreigners, while at the same time introducing foreign music to Japanese." The workshops are also designed to create an enjoyable atmosphere, while fostering international friendships.

The workshops are scheduled to be held every Thursday night, and each session will run from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., focusing on a different instrument each week. As of now, the city has planned for the "taiko" drum to be featured on July 9, the Japanese "koto" on the 23rd, and the Scottish bagpipes on the 30th. Tentatively, Brazilian music has been slated for the 16th. The workshops are divided into explanations about the origins and cultural background to each particular type of music, and also performances. There is also a question and answer period, along with a chance to possibly try some of the instruments.

Participants will be pleased to know that both the "Koto" session and the Bagpipe workshop will be conducted in traditional dress, adding to the international flavor of each gathering. The bagpipe players were featured earlier this year during the "British Festival", and are quite popular. You will also get a chance to see some Scottish dancing. "Taiko" is another favorite among foreigners on the island, which can be seen throughout the year at many of the different festivals. If you have always been interested in learning more about some of the different instruments here on Okinawa, the workshops provide the perfect chance to learn more, and to receive more information on joining different music clubs.

The community workshops are organized twice every year. The last one was held in September of 1997, which introduced the martial art of Karate. Lawn is planning on holding another workshop in September of this year, which she hopes will be a combination of both Okinawan "Bingata" and pottery.

All of the workshops encourage communication between the Okinawan and international community. Those interested are asked to sign up in advance, and are requested to attend each session over the four week course. "We want everyone to attend each week's session from beginning to end, so that there is more of a chance for communication and friendship," emphasized Lawn. "We want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves." The cost for the four week session is 1,000, which also covers refreshments and some snacks. Space is limited, so if you wish to sign up please call Lisa Lawn at 939-1212 ext. 2421.

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