Five acts to see at this year’s Powell Street Festival

Seishun Youth Academy, a Vancouver version of a Japanese idol group, returns for a second year.

This year’s Powell Street Festival takes place Aug 3 and 4, from 11:30 am – 7:00 pm. The street festival celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture and takes place in the historic Japanese-Canadian neighbourhood known as Paueru Gai (literally translated as Powell Street area). This area is centred at Alexander Avenue and Jackson Street, while the festival spans six city blocks.

The festival features sumo wrestling and martial arts demonstrations, theatre, dance, calligraphy, food (including yakisoba, takoyaki, sushi, matcha ice cream, ramen, and Japanese style hot dogs), music, and taiko drumming—lots and lots of taiko drumming. All events are free.

Here are five acts worth checking out.

Seishun Youth Academy—This local group is a Vancouver version of the Japanese phenomenon of idol groups, musicals acts that celebrate their pre-fabricated, image-conscious origins. This is SYA’s second appearance at the Powell Street Festival. (Sat., 3-3:30 p.m., Street Stage)

Teke::Teke—This seven-piece band from Montreal takes inspiration from Japanese surf-guitarist Takeshi Terauchi for a shoe-gaze-y, post-rock experience. Composed of musicians from other Montreal bands, they use standard rock gear alongside traditional Japanese instruments (shinobu flute, shamisen, taisho koto). (Sat. 4:15 pm-5 pm, Diamond Stage; Sun., 3-4 pm, Diamond Stage)

Teke Teke combines surf-guitar and shoegaze indie-rock.

Yuni Mori—The Japan-based composer brings her original piano compositions and delicate voice to the festival. (Sun, 1-1: 30 pm, Street Stage)

Katrina Wolfe—Along with musician Joey Largent, Seattle’s Wolfe presents a combination of Butoh (Japanese dance theater), sculpture, installation, and live sound. According to powellstreetfestival.com, “Intricate costumes and sculptural forms will be transformed as Katrina moves amongst them. Katrina’s unique style of movement changes rapidly from wild and dynamic to extremely fragile and delicate. A mysterious soundscape will develop with the changing imagery as Joey plays various instruments to compliment, contrast, and integrate with the sounds created by the movement of the body and installation.” (Sat. 4-4:30 p.m., Firehall Theatre)

Seattle’s Katrina Wolfe performs at this year’s Powell Street Festival.

Chihei Hatakeyama—The Tokyo-based Hatakeyama is an electronic musician who uses guitars, pianos and vibraphones for his ambient/post-ambient compositions. He performs in collaboration with local photographer Mark Mushet. (Sat., 3-3:30 pm, Firehall Theatre)

Other festival features include interactive installations, children’s activities, a craft market,
tea ceremonies, ikebana and bonsai demonstrations. Participating venues including
the Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova Street), Vancouver Japanese Language School
and Japanese Hall (475 Alexander Street), and Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson
Avenue). For a complete list and schedule visit powellstreetfestival.com.

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