With dramatic transitions across the nation, our country and region face some real and profound changes. During this time, we at Unit Souzou are finding comfort and power in our work as artists and cultural connectors.
In the late fall last year, just after the November elections, we traveled to Helena, Montana to share our work. Helena is a distance from Portland, both geographically and culturally. We were slated to perform our touring show INSATIABLE, and to hold space as resident artists in the schools for the week. What we found in Helena was a community that opened their hearts and minds to our artistic voice. The students we met were energetic and engaged. The sold-out audience we performed for received us with great enthusiasm and interest. Our visit to Montana was deeply inspiring and transformative. We now cherish our role as artists with new vigor. Our work provides a tremendous opportunity to share relevant stories that can build new bridges to community dialogue, whether with old friends or with unlikely strangers. With that experience as a backdrop, we have developed a number of themes to frame our work in 2017.
Braving. “To encounter with courage and fortitude, to defy.” (Wiktionary) As artists in an increasingly agitated environment, we know that our drum and our dance is powerful. Our vision is for a world that embraces evolution and encourages the creation of new traditions. Holding on to that notion, we will break through uncertainty with authentic voices and open hearts.
Listening. In order to be a strong ensemble group, listening is at the core of our work as taiko artists. Our drums are more powerful when we are actively listening, building together. But who is in our circle? Who in our circle is not being heard? How can we be more inclusive? We will endeavor to listen more.
Galvanizing. At Unit Souzou, we strive to create new traditions for new communities. As we continue to broaden and deepen our community circle, we seek to empower and activate individuals to share their authentic voices through the drum. These voices will join the chorus of community voices and expressions to further understanding.
As we embrace these themes, we hope you will be part of our community circle this coming year, building power and unity in the face of challenges and evolution.