Spotlight

Featured Articles

  • Foremost American Taiko Artist, Kenny Endo, to perform in Tokyo on April 24 and April 30

    Posted by:

    Master Taiko Artist Kenny Endo Photo by Lia Chang

    One of the foremost names on the American wadaiko scene, Kenny Endo, returns to Tokyo for 2 engagements on April 24 at Shibuya’s O-West and on April 30 at Minami Aoyama’s “Mandala.” The concert at the Mandala is called “Mitsudomoe – Mind, Body, Spirit.”Born and raised in Los Angeles, Endo began early training in western drums and percussion. He began his taiko career with the first two kumi-taiko groups established outside of Japan – L.A.’s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko, and then with the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo. In 1980, he embarked on a decade-long odyssey in his ancestral Japan, studying and performing with Osuwa Daiko, Sukeroku Taiko, Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, Hogaku Hayashi with Mochizuki Ryu, and Matsuri Bayashi with Maru Kenjiro He has the honor of being the first foreigner to have received a “natori” in hogaku hayashi.

    In the greater musical world in America, “Kenny Endo” has become synonymous with the word “taiko.” He is one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between the traditional and his own globally-inspired style. Endo also has an MA in Ethnomusicology and is highly sought after for educational programs and workshops.

    Endo has recorded five CDs of original taiko compositions and was a featured artist on the TV special “Spirit of Taiko” in America. He has performed for musicians Michael Jackson, and Prince as well as the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles. He has performed with Japanese musicians Hayashi Eitetsu (taiko), Sato Michihiro (Tsugaru shamisen), Semba Kiyohiko (percussion), Watanabe Kazumi (jazz guitar), Uzaki Ryudo (rock & roll), Koinuma Hiroyuki, Leonard Eto, Hirota Joji, John Kaizan Neptune, Christopher Yohmei Blaisdel, Amanojaku, and many others. He opened for The Who, performed a duet with singer Bobby McFerrin, and is featured on the soundtracks of Kayo Hatta’s “Picture Bride,” and “Francis Ford Coppola’s...

  • 32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8

    Posted by:

    MyFoxNY.com reporter Ti-Hua Chang, MSNBC anchor Richard Lui, NY1‘s CeFaan Kim and Michelle Yu, spoken word poet Kelly Tsai and actress Jen Kwok will emcee the 32nd Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Festival on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at Union Square Park (East 17th between Broadway and Park Avenue) in New York from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Organized by the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans since 1971, this annual festival is the longest running and largest event celebrating Pan Asian heritage on the East Coast.

    Ti-Hua Chang

    This year’s festival is themed around the journey that Asian Pacific American ancestors have taken to bring us to this moment that celebrates not only the value of families but also our heritage in the combining of the traditional and very colourful culture across the continent of Asia that make us proud to be Asian Pacific Americans. The festival will feature fun activities for children and adults, savory samples of Asian cuisine, booths representing local Asian American organizations, and an impressive lineup of musical artists, dance presentations, martial artists, taiko drumming groups and magicians. For more details on the event, click here.

    List of Performing Artists:Music: Hsu-nami, PaperDoll, Reni Mimura, Dana Leong ft. Le Zhang, Nina Sophia Mojares, and Nuf Said ft. Ioana VintuDance: Polynesian Dance, New York Chinese Cultural Center, and Yosakoi DanceMartial Arts Demonstrations: Chinese Freemason Athletic Club, Kyakkokan Dojo, Blue Dragon TKD Demo Team, World Martial Arts Center, Asian United Sports Club, Moy Ving Tsung, City Wing Tsun Kung Fu and Gao’s Kung Fu AcademyTaiko Drum Artists: Soh Daiko, Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center and TaikozaMagicians: Ronald McDonald and Rich Kameda

    Taiko drummer Kaoru Watanabe © Lia Chang/www.liachang.com

    About CAPA:The Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization staffed solely by volunteers working together to build a sense of community among...
  • 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011

    Posted by:

    From May 4-8, 2011, the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) presents the 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country, with 25 feature films, documentaries, and shorts from and about the Indian subcontinent screening over five days. NYIFF features a mix of film screenings, discussions, industry panels, nightly parties, an awards ceremony, and gala red carpet events.

    The U.S. premiere of Disney’s Do Dooni Chaar directed by Habib Faisal and starring Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, kicks off the New York Indian Film Festival with a star-studded Opening Night red carpet at the Paris Theatre in Manhattan, followed by a gala benefit dinner at the Jumeirah Essex House. H.E. Meera Shankar, India’s Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the welcome address. Film festival screenings will take place from May 5 through May 8 at Tribeca Cinemas, including the Centerpiece selection – the New York Premiere of Aparna Sen’s Iti Mrinalini , followed by an afterparty at Tribeca Bar. The Festival’s Closing night selection, the U.S. Premiere of Rituparno Ghosh’s Nauka Dubi, will screen at Asia Society followed by the annual awards ceremony and afterparty. In addition, the festival is hosting an exclusive celebrity-filled celebration honoring the 150th anniversary of the birth of India’s legendary Nobel Prize-winning artist and poet Rabinranath Tagore at Asia Society on May 8.

    Making its U.S. Premiere will be Sudhir Mishra’s acclaimed romantic crime drama Yeh Saali Zindagi starring Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, The Namesake). Legendary actress Shabana Azmi stars in the cross-cultural love story A Decent Arrangement which makes its World Premiere. And movie fans will get to go back in time with Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan with the New York Premiere of Raakh Redux, the digitally remastered version of the actor’s early hit which won three National Film Awards.

    NYIFF will also showcase...

  • Vikas Khanna’s documentary Holy Kitchens – Karma to Nirvana, premieres at the New York Indian Film Festival on May 7 at Tribeca Cinemas

    Posted by:

    Chef Vikas Khanna Photo by Lia Chang

    Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna’s documentary Holy Kitchens – Karma to Nirvana, the second installment in the series which focuses specifically on Hinduism, Lord Krishna’s spiritual practices, and the principles of KARMA and NIRVANA as set forth in the Bhagavad-Gita, will premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival on Saturday, May 7, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. in Tribeca Cinemas’ Theater TWO (54 Varick Street). Click here to purchase tickets.

    “God comes to the hungry in the form of food,” said the ‘Father of India’ Mahatma Gandhi. It is this philosophy which has compelled Chef Vikas Khanna to explore the symbiotic intersection of food and religion in his documentary series Holy Kitchens. “At any given time somewhere on Earth, people are gathering to share food in the name of God. This is spiritual sustenance, meant to bring us closer together and closer to the Creator,” says Khanna. “This is the story of Holy Kitchens.”The film features interviews with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Arun Gandhi, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Aroon Shivdasani, Lynn McGuire, Scott Carney and Anju Bhargava. It is written and narrated by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn, directed by Anubhav Bhardwaj, and co-directed by Francisco Aguila. Karma to Nirvana is a Junoon Hospitality presentation.

    Vikas Khanna’s journey in the documentary takes us right into the soup kitchens of Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s ashram in Kerala, where Amma blesses thousands of people daily with motherly hugs and serves them meals with her own hands. “We have to help the hungry as best we can,” says Amma. “We have to see that feeding the hungry is no less than the worship of God.”Subsequently, the documentary highlights the magnanimous charity work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Delhi and other parts of the world. Their “Food for All” programs feed hundreds of thousands of hungry children and adults,...

  • House of Payne’s Denise Burse chats up the 2011 NAACP Image Awards and Season 7

    Posted by:

    Photo by Lia Chang

    Since 2006, Denise Burse has been serving up sass and displaying an outrageous flair for fashion as Claretha Jenkins, Ella Payne’s best friend on Tyler Perry’s award-winning TV show House of Payne, which began airing new episodes on March 30th.

    Fresh from the Atlanta set of House of Payne, the award-winning actress was a vision in a cream colored tuxedo when we attended a concert performance by Marva Hicks in Pat Holley’s Me and Caesar Lee at the Triad Theatre in New York earlier this month.

    (l-r) Lia Chang, Peter Jay Fernandez, Denise Burse and Marva Hicks after the concert presentation of Pat Holley's Me and Caesar Lee at The Triad Theatre in New York on April 3, 2011.

    Burse hinted at big developments in Season 7 for Claretha and talked about the festivities of the 2011 NAACP Image Awards in L.A.

    “It’s been really hair raising,” said Burse. “I can’t give too much away until they start the new season. She’s in a very interesting storyline. I can only urge you to tune in because many eyebrows will be raised.”

    Click here to watch “Payneful Visit,” the episode where Claretha reveals she has leukemia.

    About Claretha, Burse shared, “She’s funny, she’s sassy, very sensitive. She is a woman who likes being in love, and has been hurt many times as a result. She has a great big heart. She loves her friends deeply and loyally. She has a sense of flair. I wear outrageous gear and change my hair to fit my outfit. From head to toe. She is always dolled up.”

    In March, Tyler Perry and House of Payne won a host of awards at the 2011 NAACP Image Awards, including the 2011 NAACP Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. The Image Awards, first presented in 1967, were launched by the NAACP to celebrate “outstanding achievements by people of color in film, television, music and literature, as well as individuals or groups who promote social justice.”

    It was a first for Ms. Burse at the NAACP Images Awards which were held at...

  • In the news