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DaiTime Japan with Daisha "Daiwu" Hunter

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

African Drummer Latyr Sy Beats Japan Down

www.latyrsydiaspora.com
African percussionist and Senegal Native Latyr Sy has been drumming in Japan for the past 5 years. He brought his beats to the United Colors of Benetton fall/winter 2008 fashion show to support Benetton's "Africa Works" campaign. Latyr said he began drumming as a child in Senegal because it was something he had picked up and liked to do. His love and skill for drumming grew into a career that has brought Africa's beat around the world to places like France, Korea, China, Germany, Egypt, and Japan where he resides.

Being a percussionist isn't something Sy set out to be. He plays because he loves the music and hopes to induce happiness and a feeling of festivity in all who hears his music. African music and culture being spread around the world and Japan is one of his goals. His percussionist group has members from multiple countries in Africa besides Senegal. Working with Benetton who promotes projects like Birima's micro-credit Program in Senegal which fosters economic stimulus, education, and productive small businesses, can do more to help develop African nations than political involvement can, Sy feels. Events like the fall/winter 2008 United Colors of Benetton fashion show helps to promote awareness and culture to the masses.

Latyr Sy uses his talent throughout Japan by conducting live performances, TV appearances, band recordings, and collaborating with musicians in various genres from Jazz and Latin, to Folk and Rock. He teaches African Drumming and holds workshops to further encourage interests on a national level, from elementary school and above. When people hear his name and his music, Sy wants them to be happy and let out what they feel on the inside as the beat of the drum moves them.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Dai-You Know How We Do!




Dedicated to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and all of the ancestors of the Lewis, Gipe, Moody, and Murphy families. I miss you, love you, and will never forget!

Memorial Dai is the American National Holiday to honor soldiers and veterans of the United States Armed Services. It more commonly is observed on the last Mondai of the month of May, making a 3-day weekend for many workers and students. Memorial Dai is used as a National BBQ dai and the official start of summer at most households. Many families have picnics, cookouts, and travel to visit family along with the grave sites of those honored fallen soldiers.

Living in Japan and unaffiliated with American services, I can easily forget American Holidais. Many of my friends won’t have off when I’m observing Japanese holidais, and I don’t get the long weekends when they do. It just so happens this year I had off on the observed Memorial Dai.

I was blessed to be able to attend a BBQ and inhale one of the most delicious scents on Earth: char-grilled meat and barbeque sauce. I sat right next to the grill while my homie CJ hooked up the chicken just right with the good brunt on it. The Japanese don’t like the burnt and think it’s cooked wrong. Little do they know that is a part of the recipe.

I ate the sweetest watermelon slices ever. We might as well consider watermelon a delicacy being that they can cost $10-$20 each, just for the small ones. We drank and ate ourselves full under a warm Japan sun and cool breeze. In true Black American BBQ fashion, we broke out a deck of cards and played Spades. You’d be amazed that most of us hadn’t played in 2 to 4 years. No African American BBQ is complete without some sort of games like Uno, Dominoes, Badminton, or Horseshoes.

Being in Japan really makes me miss and appreciate my culture more. Things we consider stereotypes with negative connotations, I realize are really a true factor and positively embraceable. Japan gives our chicken and watermelon love a tough tie. There is nothing wrong with that. Besides, like Dave Chappelle said, “show me all these people who hate chicken and watermelon!” No matter where we go, that’s where we at! Some things still feel like home. I had a happy Memorial Dai!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"One Love" Jamaica Festival





Photos by B
Hundreds turned out to pack Yoyogi Park to share one love for Jamaican-Japan relations. Japan has a deep-rooted following of all things from Jamaican Culture including music, food, dance, and the number 1 import coffee. The park was filled with informational booths and stands selling jerk chicken, Red Stripe beer, Meyers Jamaican Rum, and clothing colored in flags of green, black, yellow, and red. The 2-day festival celebrated the relationship between Japan and Jamaica. The Jamaican Embassy and friendship groups had stands to promote educational facts about, the country. There were Dancehall lessons, and Patwa, Jamaican English dialect, lessons. Many J-Reggae artists performed on the concert stage including a special performance by the 2 time winning Jamaican Dancehall Queen, who is a Japan native, Junko. All nationalities were present to take part in the cultural festivities, and to show One Love for Jamaica in Japan.

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