Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkan Celebrates New Year with Traditional Performances
• The 51st Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai New Year Party was
held on April 1 at the Midwest Buddhist Temple, and a variety of the traditional
Okinawa dance, music, and martial arts were presented. One of the best
delights was Okinawa’s homemade dishes, such as tempura, simmered meats
and vegetables, grilled salmon, colorful sushi and more.
• Paula Schmidling, President of the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai, spoke about the enthusiasm of Uchinanchu Festival, which was held last October in Okinawa. About 40,000 Okinawans around the world got together over a three-day period, and one thousand sanshin (three-string instrument) players played music together at the opening ceremony. Schmidling said to the attendees, “Save money to attend the next Uchinanchu Festival.” The Festival is held every five years.
• The Kenjinkai’s performance started with “Kajyadefu”,
which is performed in the celebrating occasions.
Focus: Yoneko Cabel
• Yoneko Cabel (79) is always playing sanshin with her
smiling face. She was born in Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture, and her
marriage brought her to Chicago in 1964. At that time, her brother-in-law
gave her a sanshin as a memory of Okinawa. While she knew the existence
of Okinawa Kenjinkai in Chicago, her married life made her busy, so she
just put the sanshin in her house as a decoration.
• For Cabel, playing sanshin was really a new thing. She called her brother in law in Okinawa and asked what she didn’t know about the instrument. She also asked a famous sanshin player Yukinobu Oshiro of the Kariyushi Kai to improve her skills. She practiced it every day after she returned home from her job.
• As she mastered playing sanshin, she created a new
sanshin group in the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai, which had a dancing group
and a taiko drumming group, so she could concentrate on playing sanshin.
• She has taught sanshin to more than 80 people in 20
years. Okinawa Kenjinkai in other states asked her to teach it or play
it in their gatherings. Currently, she has eight to nine students and
gave them lessons in her home and at Kenjinkai’s weekly practice.
One of the best delights is Okinawa’s homemade dishes, such as tempura, simmered meats and vegetables, grilled salmon, colorful sushi and more.
The last performance “Kachashi”
Yoneko Cabel (C)