This is the time of year that the Japanese celebrate what is called the Obon Festival, aka the Bon Festival. Now, I am not an Obon Festival Expert, nor do I play a buddhist monk on TV. From what I understand about this family tradition, it is similar to the American celebration of Memorial Day. It’s not a patriotic celebration, though. It is an honoring of the spirits of their ancestors. (All this wonderful knowledge comes to you courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
This is a celebration in which music and dance plays an important role.
From my days of teaching music appreciation, I’ve come to realize that not all music and dance is for “shaking what you got” or trying to win a competition on a reality TV show. Much of the music and dance of the world, such as that for the Obon Festival, is deeply rooted in culture and tradition.
One of the bands that I’ve done work for is RootsRockSociety. The founder of the band, Stann Champion, is someone who really understands and promotes culture and tradition ideals in his life and in his music. In fact, one of the band’s recent singles is called La Familia.
Stann is very involved in his community. He also hosts a radio show on WNUR in Chicago. If you haven’t heard of RootsRockSociety, you can check them out here. You’ll notice that Stann is using one of the strategies that I taught him for increasing his fan base. He’s offering free mp3 downloads in exchange for your email address. Go ahead and grab your copies now!