Exploring Our Roots Arts Festival

June 23, 2023 @ 6:30PM — June 24, 2023 @ 7:30PM Pacific Time (US & Canada) Add to Calendar

Arcata Playhouse: 1521 9th Street Arcata, CA 95521 Get Directions

Exploring Our Roots Arts Festival image

Presented by Humboldt Asians and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity

Humboldt Asians and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity invite you to explore your family roots, heritage, and community history through the arts: music, poetry, film and dance. Featuring Julian Saporiti (No-No Boy), Hiroya Tsukamoto, Aireene Espiritu and Color-Coded Symphony, and the Humboldt premiere of “Many Moons” documentary by director Chisato Hughes.

Festival pass is $40 and is valid for events at the Arcata Playhouse Friday and Saturday, June 23 & 24, not including the workshop with Dr. Saporiti on Saturday. Individual events may be purchased separately.

Event lineup:

Day 1, June 23, $25: 6:30-9:30 PM. Hiroya Tsukamoto and No-No Boy aka Julian Saporiti
CANCELED: Day 2, June 24, $20 ($5 student (high school & above): 10:00-11:30 AM. Workshop by Dr. Julian Saporiti, “Transforming History into Art Workshop”
Day 2, June 24, FREE: 12 Noon-2:45 PM. Public concert, performing artists from Humboldt
Day 2, June 24, $25: 3:00-7:30 PM. Aireene Espiritu and Color-Coded Symphony; “Many Moons” documentary screening and interview with filmmaker Chisato Hughes
Hiroya Tsukamoto
Friday, June 23, 6:30 P.M.

“Eclectic, immersive and mesmerizing; guitarist and songwriter Hiroya Tsukamoto embodies the notion that music has no language: Beautifully raw and cathartically emotional, Tsukamoto is a world-renowned, self-made musician.”

Hiroya Tsukamoto is an innovative guitarist and composer who fuses folk,jazz, and world music. Born and raised in Japan, in 2000 he received a scholarship to Berklee College of music and came to the U.S. Tsukamoto’s instrumental abilities are indeed breathtaking and astounding, but his performances are so much more than that. He has the unique capability of engaging an audience thru a personable and genuine approach that transfixes his audience and almost transcends his capabilities as a guitarist. Audience members will be mesmerized; Tsukamoto plays with an effortless skill on the guitar and a repertoire that will have you traveling the world, not to mention experiencing new sounds with his own compositions. Tsukamoto headlines concerts throughout the U.S. as well as internationally including Blue Note in NYC, United Nations and Japanese National Television. Most recently Hiroya won 2nd place in International Finger Style Guitar Championship in 2022.

Julian Saporiti – No-No Boy
Friday, June 23, 8:00 P.M.

“one of the most insurgent pieces of music you’ll ever hear… re-examines americana with devastating effect… an act of revisionist subversion” – NPR

No-No Boy is an immersive multimedia work blending original folk songs, storytelling, and projected archival images all in service of illuminating hidden American histories. Taking inspiration from his own family’s history living through the Vietnam War as well as many other stories of Asian American experience, Nashville born songwriter Julian Saporiti has transformed years of doctoral study into an innovative project which bridges a divide between art and scholarship. By turning his archival research and fieldwork into a large repertoire of folk songs and films Saporiti has been able to engage diverse audiences with difficult conversations performing with a revolving cast of collaborators everywhere from rural high schools and churches to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. The content of the project focuses largely on Asian American and transpacific stories, featuring songs that explore North American Chinatowns, Japanese American Incarceration, and his own family’s history as Southeast Asian refugees, amongst other areas of study. Alongside these pieces, Saporiti’s present-day work with refugees at the southern border and indigenous climates refugees in Northern Alaska have inspired songs that connect seemingly disparate communities through larger themes of immigration and displacement.

Dr. Julian Saporiti, Transforming History into Art Workshop
Saturday, June 24, 10:00-11:30 A.M. - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED

Dr. Julian Saporiti, aka No-No Boy, will share his unique method of transforming
historical research into public-facing work, utilizing art to reach diverse
audiences. Saporiti will break down his No-No Boy project and share how he has
transformed years of doctoral study into documentary films, concerts, and
critically acclaimed albums. This workshop will cover methods of conducting
historical research such as oral histories, fieldwork, and archival research and
then ask participants to think about their local and family histories and how they
could use artistic practice to share these stories. Music, storytelling, textile arts,
and film clips will be woven into this 60-minute presentation as we explore the
many ways we can explore and share history through artistic practice. 15-30
minutes reserved for discussion afterward.

Ages: high school and above
Duration: 90 min
Max attendance: 15
Cost: $20 ($5 for students)

Free to Public Showcase of Humboldt Performing Artists!
Saturday, June 24, 12:00-2:45 P.M.

Blessing & Invocation - Barry Brenard, Cultural Coordinator, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
Bear River Youth Tribal Council Singers
Lansana Kouyate, African music on balafon and djembe
Humboldt County Lao Dancers, traditional Laotian folk dancing
Lorenza Simmons & Jenny Villaseñor, vocalists, ukulele & keyboard
Bamidele and RA MHTP, poetry ‘prayer formers’
Soul-A-Mente – indigenous soul and folk rock https://www.facebook.com/SoulAMenteBand/
Rachel Noel – poetry and movement artist https://www.knowelcreates.com/
Humboldt Taiko – traditional Japanese drumming https://www.hapihumboldt.org/humboldt-taiko

NOTE: Artists not necessarily listed in order of performance

Aireene Espiritu and the Color-Coded Symphony: Our Town
Saturday, June 24, 3:00 P.M.

Aireene Espiritu plays a mix of stompin’, swayin’ and timeless Americana
reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter
and tears. She is a singer/songwriter based in Oakland, CA with over 25 years
experience covering various genres from folk, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues to
world music. Aireene was a soloist with the Glide Ensemble in San Francisco,
has toured internationally and across the country, playing intimate venues such
as Freight & Salvage to festivals such as Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Hardly
Strictly Bluegrass Festival and more.

A Color-Coded Symphony is a performance piece which premiered at the San
Francisco Asian Art Museum in 2017. This musical experience connecting the
audience’s ethnic origins to rhythms of the world seeks to nurture curiosity and
openness towards other cultures through music. For this Roots Arts Festival, a
‘local version’ of ‘Color-Coded Symphony: Our Town’, will carry listeners
through familiar and unfamiliar songs and sounds from around the world, with an
ensemble of local musicians from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The multicultural
ensemble will improvise on rhythms from their ethnic origins, creating a new
musical piece while connecting their roots.

Symphony Musicians are:
Lorenza Simmons & Jenny Villaseñor – vocalists, uke & keyboard; Lansana
Kouyate, balafon and djembe; Gary Ronne, Japanese taiko drum; Rebekka
Lopez, alto sax & flute; Odalys Ramirez, congas; Soul-A-Mente (GoodShield)
Aguilar, vocalist, guitar, Native drum; Mignon Geli (Native wooden flute), &
Alex (drum kit).

Humboldt Premiere of ‘Many Moons’, a documentary about Charlie Moon and
interview with filmmaker Chisato Hughes, and family member, Sheila Moon.
Saturday, June 24, 6:00 P.M.

Arcata native filmmaker Chisato Hughes will present and talk about her short
documentary about Chinese immigrant Charlie Moon, the fabled “last Chinese
Man of Humboldt County” after the purging of its Chinese community in 1885 –
and his descendants, known as the Moons, whose families touch all local native
tribes in the area. This film is a hybrid documentary that asks questions about
ghosts and placemaking today– looking at the history of Chinese expulsions in
Humboldt County and the people who, often with the help of local tribes,
continued to live in the county despite the threat of white violence.

After the screening, there will be a Q&A with the film’s director about the local
filming of the documentary with the help of Yurok, Hupa, and Asian American
residents, and with Sheila Moon, who will talk about growing up as a Moon and
the legacy of her family’s patriarch, Charlie Moon.

Chisato grew up in Arcata, and recently earned their M.F.A. in social
documentation at the University of California-Santa Cruz, following work as a
video producer for the Hammer Museum, U.C.L.A. Chisato did organizing work
with California Coalition for Women Prisoners and amwa, a panasian workers

Sheila Moon is a tribal member at Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria in
Loleta, California. She is a leader at her tribe and in her community, and is also
an artist. She also carries medicine, she gathers and hold precious knowledge
about: bear root, elder berries, Indian tea and stinging nettles. Sheila is the great
great-great-great-great granddaughter of Charlie Moon.

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