The BCA Music Bon Odori Taiko Subcommittee is excited to introduce a new Bon Odori commission for 2024. For the upcoming 125th anniversary of the Buddhist Churches of America, the committee wanted to promote young Buddhist voices to commemorate this momentous occasion.
Bonbu Stories is an Asian American Arts collaborative dedicated to using music as a medium for raw storytelling and building connections. Made up of six amazing young musicians, this group was tasked with representing their interpretation of a modern Bon Odori — to express the sentiments of their generation’s definition of Obon. Their process involved conversations and mentorship from community leaders such as Rev. Masao Kodani and Nobuko Miyamoto. The result is a beautiful new Bon Odori piece called “Lantern Song.”
The lyrics of “Lantern Song” depict an intergenerational conversation between a living person and their departed loved ones. The piece does not shy away from the realities and mixed emotions that can be so prevalent around Obon such as loss, legacy, remembrance, and celebration. They encourage us to dance, sing, and cherish the memories under the lanterns.
In celebration of the 125th anniversary of BCA, we encourage all temples to join us in celebration and remembrance of our loved ones and include “Lantern Song” in your Obon dance lists this summer. The audio recording and dance tutorial video is available on the BCA’s “Obon: Gathering of Joy” webpage: https://bit.ly/3QBQLFt
For more information about “Lantern Song” and Bonbu Stories, visit the links below:
Fujimoto is a member of the BCA Music Bon Odori Taiko Subcommittee.