Eisa Drum Festival celebrates Okinawan culture

Eisa Drum Festival | Photo by Chris Kwock Photography

Eisa Drum Festival | Photo by Chris Kwock PhotographyKapiolani Community College is hosting the 3rd Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm on the Great Lawn at the center of campus.

The outdoor festival brings together food prepared by KCC’s culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko performed in the shadow of Diamond Head and under the stars. The program begins at 6 pm. The event is free and open to the public, with ample parking on campus.

Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawaii, Hawaii Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawaii Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer, and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner.

Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to the people of Okinawa. Originally performed as part of a religious function honoring those who have passed, modern Eisa is an exhilarating combination of singing, chanting, dancing and drumming. In Okinawa and Hawaii, Eisa continues to be performed at Bon Dances. This year’s festival will feature contemporary styles of drumming, with Okinawan taiko, karate, lions, and contemporary folk music.

“The first two festivals have been described as ‘magical’ and we hope to continue that tradition in our third year,” said Shari Tamashiro, KCC’s “cybrarian” and one of the coordinators of the festival. “We’re also very pleased to have celebrity chef instructor Grant Sato and KCC’s famous culinary program managing the food booths.”

“The bringing together of Island People, Daiichi Hirata from Okinawa and Kawika Napoleon from Hawaii, was so dynamic… it brought forth a sense of joy and pride from within,” said Dorene Niibu of Windard Community College.

“When I think of Eisa Fest, I think of it as the first major event of the summer,” said KCC faculty member Jonathan Wong. “To me it signals that summer is here and what better way to start the summer off with a bang than with drums, food, music and stars.”

The public is invited to enjoy the evening under the stars. Bring lawn chairs to sit on, blankets, and jackets. Up to date information on program, schedule, parking, maps, and food items on sale will be posted at www.facebook.com/eisahawaii. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event.

Video from the first Eisa Drum Festival in 2011:

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