Eisa drummer
Brent Arakaki of the Young Okinawans of Hawaii demonstrates traditional forms of Eisa drumming. (photo courtesy of Kapiolani Community College)

Kapiʻolani Community College and the Office of Student Activities present the third annual Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11, 5:30–9 p.m. on the Great Lawn. The outdoor free festival brings together ʻono food prepared by the Kapiʻolani CC culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko. The program begins at 6 p.m.

Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawaiʻi Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner.

Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to the people of Okinawa. Originally performed as part of a religious function honoring those who have passed, modern Eisa is an exhilarating combination of singing, chanting, dancing and drumming. This year’s festival will feature contemporary styles of drumming, with Okinawan taiko, karate, lions and contemporary folk music.

“The first two festivals have been described as ‘magical’ and we hope to continue that tradition in our third year, ” said Shari Tamashiro, Kapiʻolani CC cybrarian, and one of the coordinators of the festival. “We’re also very pleased to have celebrity chef instructor Grant Sato and Kapiʻolani CC’s famous culinary program managing the food booths.”

“When I think of Eisa Fest, I think of it as the first major event of the summer,” said Jonathan Wong, Kapiʻolani CC instructor. “To me, it signals that summer is here and what better way to start the summer off with a bang than with drums, food, music and stars.”

For up to date information on program, parking, maps and food items go to the Eisa Hawaii facebook page. There will be ample parking on campus. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event.

A Kapiʻolani CC news release