Imagine being forced from your home. Imagine being sent to a prison camp with no trial, and no promise of release. Imagine all this happened simply because of the language you speak, the shade of your skin, or the roots of your family tree. For over 120,000 Japanese-Americans this was a reality during World War II. It’s a reality that Kishi Bashi seeks to reckon with on his latest release Omoiyari.
“I was shocked when I saw white supremacy really starting to show its teeth again in America,“ Kishi Bashi says. “My parents are immigrants, they came to the United States from Japan post–World War II. As a minority I felt very insecure for the first time in my adult life in this country. I think that was the real trigger for this project.”
Kishi Bashi recognized parallels between the current U.S. administration’s constant talk of walls and bans, and the xenophobic anxieties that led to the forced internment of Japanese-Americans in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. So he immersed himself in that period, visiting former prison sites and listening to the stories of survivors, while developing musical concepts along the way. The unique creative process behind Omoiyari will be documented in a film scheduled for release in early 2020
The songs on Omoiyari overflow with rich sounds and complex emotions, and challenge listeners to confront a difficult chapter in America’s past while acknowledging the injustices of the present. But there’s a yearning for better days threaded through several songs, a perspective that mirrors Kishi Bashi’s own hopes for a better future. “Part of the project is saying that if you’re a minority there’s potentially still a lot to look forward to in this country. I believe there’s a paradigm shift coming, especially for minorities and those who have felt oppression. America is changing.”
- Times: 7:00 PM
- Admission: $20+