O-Bon 2017 was truly wonderful! We would like to thank each and every person involved in making it such a brilliant celebration.
On the 10th of June, 2017, the sun shone and the crowds gathered as the O-Bon celebrations began. A brilliant buzz could be felt at the Playtrail as events began to kick off around ‘Little Tokyo’. What a crowd!
With many brilliant activities to choose from around the site, the crowd were happy to explore. There was story telling in the Story Hut, Karate demonstrations, Japanese games and taster sessions with Ibuki Taiko.
If you ventured into the woods you could meet Hello Kitty and if you were fast enough you might even have spotted the ninja!
Once the crowd had arrived and explored the odaiko drum could be heard across Little Tokyo, signalling the start of the performances on stage.
We started off with Fujima Sensei and her team of wonderful dancers from her schools in Japan. It was a honor to have them with us and a real joy to watch them perform their beautiful dances.
Yu-Jo Taiko and the Brady Academy of Music were wonderful! Bringing taiko to the stage with their wonderful collaboration, they really kick-started the night.
Ibuki Taiko took to the stage for the story of Amaterasu, the sun Goddess and received a warm welcome from the audience.
We had stunning performances from NWRC Ascent Dancers, Fireworks DDTA and Culmore PS on stage later. Such beautiful work from all these amazing groups!
Yukari Norris and Hannari Club Dancers also brought their graceful dance pieces to the main stage. So much talent.
The Toro Nagashi Lantern Ceremony took place as the sky began to darken. The lanterns that had been decorated with thoughts and poems in our community workshops were now lit and carried into the auditorium as the final piece played.
Sarah Murphy wrote Taiko Love for O-Bon 2017. Commissioned through the Arts Councils Intercultural Fund it is a piece which brings together Japanese and Celtic influences and reflects the connection between Derry and Japan.
With harp, Japanese shinobue flute, taiko, marimba and voices, this piece filled the night air as the lanterns lit up the evening. It was a magical moment.
A huge thank you to everyone who made this event so special. To our performers, our audience and our funders, and to everyone behind the scenes who worked so hard to bring this celebration to life. Thank you!
Once again, we’d like to thank Gav Connolly for his fantastic photography.