We All Dance to the Same Beat

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☆Taku Takahashi, the world famous DJ, producer and maestro of Japan’s electronic music scene, will team up with Wyatt Bray, the 2015 American World Champion of Japan’s classic sport Kendama, for an evening of collaborative pyrotechnics at Brooklyn’s Verboten on Saturday, August 29th.

☆Takahashi, well known for his multi-sensory DJ extravaganzas back in the Motherland, will bring a taste of Japanese electro house and hip-hop to NYC, while creating a rhythmic soundscape for Bray to showcase his acclaimed Kendama tricks. This is a first for the Japanese DJ and American kendama player, and we can hardly wait for what’s in store.

☆Takahashi embarked his musical career in the late 1990s, as part of the Japanese hip hop group “m-flo”. Founding members DJ ☆Takahashi, emcee Verbal and vocalist Lisa were influenced by Japanese hip hop’s nascent days, adapting the same Old School flow and aesthetic as their 1980s predecessors. Though part of a larger cultural movement that began from the underground—virtually ignored by major record labels—m-flo burgeoned into a critically acclaimed pop sensation, enjoying mainstream success all across Asia.

While m-flo began weaving in pop, jazz, R&B and electronica into their sound throughout the 2000s, ☆Takahashi loosened his full-time activities with the group, focusing on his own side projects – like his self-produced Orthosync events, his record labels Tachytelic Records and TCY Recording, and his own radio station Block.FM, Japan’s first and only radio station dedicated to electronic music. Over the decades, ☆Takahashi has brought sounds, concepts and culture from overseas to eager Japanese audiences.

Wyatt Bray, of Portland, Oregon, picked up his first Kendama on a whim. What started as just a boy with a quirky hobby, turned into a young man with professional-level skill. Kendama may appear to be simple game of catch-the-ball-on the-stick, but with enough dedication and patience, it offers its players boundless creative freedom. Bray found his passion in the Japanese toy—a passion that would bring him half way across the world to compete with the best.

Japanese culture is a mash up of fierce Japanese tradition and nuanced Western imitation. ☆Takahashi and Bray are vehicles of this cultural overlap. Whether it’s ☆Takashashi bringing the sounds of America’s EDM to his loyal electronic music fans, or Bray teaching his Kendama skills to aspiring players across the world, the cultural exchange between the shrinking borders of the East and West is what makes us Waku Waku (excited!). August 29th will be a memorable night for Japanese culture, as two residents of the opposite sides of the globe unite to speak a universal language through music, sport and creativity.

-Kaya Sabo

Waku Waku +NYC is an upcoming Japanese pop culture festival in New York City this August 29th to 30th, celebrating the intersection of Japanese music, anime, manga, food, fashion, art, and more. Tickets are on sale now!

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