Sakura Concert Series – Taiko and Funk Night with Cherry Blossoms Night Illumination

*This event is part of the Sakura Concert Series of the Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival of Philadelphia. The festival is free – no ticket is required!*

Kenny Endo (6:00 PM)
Celebrating his 45th Anniversary in Taiko, Kenny Endo stands at the vanguard of the taiko genre, as one of the leading personas in contemporary percussion and rhythm in North America and in Japan. As jazz percussionist and early innovator in Japanese taiko, Kenny Endo embodies the history of taiko in the US. His adventurous spirit continues to stretch the taiko genre, incorporating influences like funk, jazz, Afro-Cuban & Hawaiian, with roots firmly grounded in tradition. His performances are nuanced, brilliant, exciting! Endo tours with his Contemporary Ensemble – taiko, vibes, drums, ‘ukulele, flute, koto (or shamisen) performed by renowned performers from the U.S. and Japan. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including special recognition in Japan—he was the first non-national to be honored with a “natori,” a stage name, in Japanese classical drumming. Kenny Endo’s performance is jointly presented with Opera Philadelphia.

DJ Oluwafemi – Cherry Blossom Night Illumination Starts  (7:30 PM)
When you combine classic rhythms, soul, and funk with world fusions you get the DJ vibe of Femi. As a Nigerian artist and well-known performer on the International club scene, Oluwafemi has created an electric combination that brings high energy excitement to audiences across the US, Africa and Europe. A DJ and visual artist, Oluwafemi’s musical influences include Nigerian artists such as Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti. Drums, patterns, and the rhythmic evolution of repetition are woven into Oluwafemi’s African-inspired musical style and visual explorations.

Badd Kitti (8:15 PM)
Brieze Thompson, aka Badd Kitti, is pioneer of Philadelphia’s emerging Funk scene. She’s known for a soulful, conscious vibe derived from the many flavors of Funk’s classic era. Her contributions to Funk are not only as keyboardist, vocalist and composer, but as producer, educator and as creator and host of the syndicated radio show/podcast, The Funk Excursion.
With her debut single, ‘WTF (What the Funk)’, Badd Kitti pays homage to the forefathers of Jazz-Funk, such as Herbie Handcock, Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers; artists who have had a huge influence on her music. Her four song EP is expected this fall.

Omar’s Hat (9:15 PM)
“Omar’s Hat started on the corner of 45th and Locust when a group of musicians gathered in a place called Meskerem to spark a jam that’s never stopped since. This collective is our open act of rebellion, always expanding, never settling. This music is our love for Philadelphia, for a history of sounds that make and remake us every day. Our music is for Omar, whose dance never quit reminding us that each day is to be treasured; that you can always find magic in the everyday. This music is for you, come join in. All creative attitudes are welcomed and celebrated. Omar’s Hat is free to try on and wear out and pass off to a friend or a loved one or a sister or a stranger.

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