WATCH VIDEO OF 2017 PERFORMERS:
2018 Entertainment Schedule
Saturday, June 30, 2018
The Event Center at Saint Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St. at Geary Blvd., San Francisco
Food Truck Court (Parking Lot):
All Day: The College Fund Street Band
Main Stage in Patron’s Hall
11:15 a.m. .. ……….Tofu Eating Contest
12 p.m. ………..Murasaki Ensemble Trio
1 p.m. …………Tofu Dessert Competition
2 p.m. ………….. Masaru Koga & Friends
3 p.m. …….The College Fund Street Band
4 p.m. ……………LEX the Lexicon Artist
*Schedule as of June 7, subject to change.
We are proud to announce an exciting entertainment lineup for the eighth annual Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2018, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street (at Geary Boulevard) in San Francisco.
Featured live entertainment will include the Murasaki Ensemble Trio, a jazz ensemble led by Oakland, Calif.-based Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto on koto; Masaru Koga and Friends, including band leader Masaru Koga of San Francisco on saxophones, flute and shakuhachi and Akira Tana on drums; The College Fund Street Band, an Elk Grove, Calif.-based family of young musicians ranging from ages 11 to 17 who perform to support their college educations; and LEX the Lexicon Artist, a Taipei-raised and Oakland-based artist who “combines frank storytelling, sharp commentary, and a comically huge ego to deliver her unique perspective of being a weird Asian nerd in America.”
Murasaki Ensemble Trio
The Murasaki sound has the unique ability to combine the Japanese koto with the jazzy sounds of upright bass and acoustic guitar, providing a framework for the trio’s musical explorations. The meeting of old and new, east and west, Shirley Muramoto’s Murasaki Ensemble Trio strives to present a new listening experience that involves interaction among all participants and flows with an intensely global, human quality.
Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto is a koto musician, teacher, music director and filmmaker. Raised in Oakland, Calif., Muramoto’s musical training reflected koto music, violin, voice and guitar. Muramoto went on to expand the creativity in her koto playing. Muramoto has produced four CDs with the Murasaki Ensemble, a world jazz fusion group that she founded, and three contemporary CDs, which feature the koto in solo and duets with shakuhachi, violin, flute and guitar.
For 40-plus years, Muramoto has given private lessons and classes on the koto. Her research concerning Japanese traditional arts in the wartime concentration camps culminated in a documentary film she executive produced, “Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps.”
Jeff Massanari was born in the small town of Goshen, Ind. Exposed to D.C.’s vibrant music scene, Massanari began playing the guitar at age 13. His love of jazz took him to Boston’s Berklee School of Music. After studying performance and composition, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, becoming one of the most in-demand guitarists. Massanari wears many stylistic hats, including straight-ahead jazz, fusion, blues, rock and even has some serious country chops. He often accompanies visiting artists such as Seth MacFarlane, Mark Inouye and the San Francisco Symphony at Davies, and also offers private instruction. Additionally, he teaches at Redwood High.
Bassist Heshima Mark Williams is a San Francisco native who studied under the tutelage of the first African American classical bassist in the Boston Symphony, Ortiz Walton. He has toured with trombonist Julian Priester; trumpeter Eddie Henderson; saxophonists Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Simmons and Idris Ackamoor (as a member of The Pyramids); vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson; and pianist Jeff Chimenti. He has recorded on albums by Julian Priester and Bobby Hutcherson, as well as Japanese pianist Saya Saito, jazz blues vocalist Lady Memphis and jump blues vocalist Lavay Smith; The Pyramids; saxophonist Robert Stewart; and guitarist Calvin Keys, among others.
Masaru Koga & Friends
Masaru Koga — Saxophones, Flute, Shakuhachi
Multi-wind-instrumentalist Masaru Koga has been an integral part of San Francisco Bay Area’s creative music/jazz scene, known for his cross-cultural musical palette and innovative approach. He has performed, recorded, and traveled with artists such as Anthony Brown, Brenda Wong Aoki, Mark Izu, Fred Ho and Kenny Endo. His recent work includes an annual tour to Japan with Otonowa, a band led by drummer Akira Tana, giving concerts and music workshops for communities recovering from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. His first CD as a leader, “Flower Fire,” was released in January.
Akira Tana — Jazz Percussion
A self-taught drummer, Akira Tana played semi-professionally while in college. He attended Harvard University where he obtained a degree in East Asian studies/sociology. He then studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and several of the classical music ensembles at the New England Conservatory and at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood. With the bassist Rufus Reid he formed the band TanaReid. Together with Reid and Kei Akagi, they formed the Asian American Jazz Trio. Comfortably at home accompanying singers and instrumental ballads, Tana is equally in his element playing hard bop. In addition to playing, Tana has also produced and co-produced several albums. Tana also has four recordings as a leader, “Secret Agent Men” and “Moon Over the World,” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” on Sons of Sound recordings. The most recent project is a series of recordings by his group, “Otonowa,” which features jazz interpretations of Japanese folk and pop melodies that date back centuries. This group has completed five charity tours of the earthquake/tsunami areas of northern Japan that were devastated in March 2011. His most recent recorded release is “JAZZaNOVA,” which features arrangements of Brazilian classics featuring five vocalists with guest appearances by Arturo Sandoval and Branford Marsalis.
John Wiitala — Acoustic Bass
John Wiitala is a freelance bassist, active in the Bay Area jazz scene since the 1980s. He’s played and recorded with pianist Jessica Williams’ trio, Mark Levine’s Latin Tinge, the Bruce Forman Trio, Hal Stein, Noel Jewkes, Bill Bell, Smith Dobson IV, Rob Schneiderman, Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill, Ed Reed, Erik Jekabson, Adam Shulman, Patrick Wolff and Randy Porter. He currently teaches at the California Jazz Conservatory and annually at flutist Ali Ryerson’s Master Class at Hidden Valley, the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Theo Bleckmann/Laurie Antonioli Vocal Intensive.
Ben Stolorow — Piano
Ben Stolorow came to the Bay Area from Los Angeles to attend UC Berkeley in 1994, and after graduating was awarded the Hertz Traveling Fellowship by the music department there to live and study in New York. He has returned to New York regularly to study with Fred Hersch, and since returning to the Bay Area in 2002, has become one of the most in demand jazz pianists in the area, performing at Yoshi’s, The Jazzschool, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, at the Healdsburg and SF Jazz Festivals, and has also throughout Japan. Stolorow is also a faculty member of the California Jazz Conservatory.
As Andy Gilbert from the SF Chronicle has put it, “Whether playing his shapely originals, investigating standards or bearing down on modern jazz classics, he interprets every piece with poise and purpose.”
More information: https://www.maskoga.com
The College Fund Street Band
The College Fund Street Band is comprised of Theodore “Mario” Fong (17), Leland Fong (14), and Jennifer Fong (11). They are the children of Ted and Marielle Fong from Elk Grove, Calif., just south of Sacramento.
The kids perform throughout Northern California at street fairs, farmers markets, weddings and corporate events. They have played at the Dodgers Stadium in L.A., AT&T Park in San Francisco, and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.
Two other siblings Maxwell and Nina, both in college, sometimes join them. All the money they earn goes into their college fund, hence the band’s name.
Their unique blend of vocals, ukulele, and percussion has attracted a large and loyal following. Their story has appeared in the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Magazine and was featured on “Good Day Sacramento” and “ABC News 10.”
LEX the Lexicon Artist
LEX the Lexicon Artist makes high-energy ego rap.
LEX the Lexicon Artist is Taipei-raised, Oakland-based entertainer Alex Sun Liu. Inspired by off-the-wall Internet rappers, LEX combines frank storytelling, sharp commentary, and a comically huge ego to deliver her unique perspective of being a weird Asian nerd in America. LEX tells a variety of irreverent, relatable, and personal stories through rap by invoking hip-hop swagger, nerdy charisma, Internet rapper antics and unrestrained live show energy.
LEX has performed at concerts, festivals, and nerd conventions across the country, including Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle and MAGWest in Santa Clara. She has played shows with national emcees in the nerdcore and alternative hip-hop scenes, including Mega Ran, MC Lars, Sammus and mc chris. She also works to elevate the Asian Pacific Islander community by organizing and performing at musical events with an API cultural focus, such as the Asian American Music Conference, the Asian Heritage Street Celebration and the United States of Asian America Festival. Most recently, she produced “APICENTER: Making Waves”, an Asian American hip-hop concert sponsored by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center of San Francisco, where she performed alongside Ruby Ibarra, Chow Mane and Rudy Kalma.
LEX’s full-length debut album, “Raging Ego,” was released June 6.
More information: https://thelexiconartist.com