Two years ago, members of the Sacramento Taiko Dan were invited to participate in the All Souls Procession, in Tucson, Arizona.
We were transformed and inspired by the experience, especially given the All Souls Artistic Directors' commitment to community engagement, with hands-on opportunities for people to create elements of the festival together, and conscious intentions to activate unused and under-utilized public spaces, bringing festival programs directly into them.
It meshed very well with our understanding of traditional matsuri in Japan, where community members work together to prepare for festivals, not just to create an event for other people to attend, but a way of bringing everyone together in celebration.
Plus there was a lot of fire.
Drums & Fire. DRUMS & FIRE!!! It was amazing. Seeing our rhythms interpreted and brought to life through the characters Flam Chen created, and through their dazzling and mesmerizing use of fire effects was awesome. Epic.
We wanted to bring the best of that experience home to Sacramento.
Our theme is ILLUMINANCE - A Festival of Light
Light, shining into darkness...
We want to shed light those who have gone before us and their contributions toward who we have become.
We are planning to have a procession through the heart of the historic Japantown area of Sacramento, to shine a light upon what was once a thriving community before the war and internment tore it apart.
Participants can dance Yakyuken Samba from our Sister City of Matsuyama, or carry toro nagashi style lanterns, to commemorate loved ones or illuminate wishes, hopes, and dreams.
We're also planning a Fringe Event Stage with performers that represent the many cultures and people who have added to our citiy's diverse community since its founding.
Light, shining through the darkness... Targeting underserved areas, and places where arts workshops don't usually happen.we've been going out into different community venues and holding free workshops for people to learn folk dance, to decorate paper fans, and to decorate lanterns.
We're also in the process of creating an incredible collaboration for the festival finale.
We're going to tell the story of Amaterasu, the sun goddess who, after a fight with her brother, hides in a cave and plunges the world into darkness. She is eventually drawn out by the stomping and dancing of Uzume, the goddess of mirth and revelry. This restores light to the world and also is considered to be the creation myth for taiko!
This collaboration will include members of FLAM CHEN, the Sacramento Taiko Dan, Michiyo Koga, Sawako Ama, and several other guest artists and musicians.
...the light of each individual spark.
When the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission announced its Cultural Equity Grant Program, we realized it was the opportunity we'd been waiting for. We also knew the maximum award wouldn’t be enough to cover all the costs we'd incur trying to produce this festival.
We were awarded the grant with the understanding we would need to seek additional funds, and that's actually written into the budget.
Your support of this project will help bring this festival to life, and will help us to bring together members of the Sacramento community to create something wonderful together.
We have drums. We have fire. What we need now is you.
Risks and challenges
The Artists are committed to creating the elements and producing this event. We have almost all of our permits secured, and most of the logistical details squared away. We're seeking additional support so that none of the individual artists or groups takes a financial hit on the production.
There is a possibility there could be issues with parking, depending on the new downtown arena schedule, and there is also a possibility we could get rained out and the festival date will have to be moved.
But the forecast is good and a lot of the fundamental things that have to happen are in place.
- (21 days)