Singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and Athens favorite Kishi Bashi has carved out a unique place for himself in America’s diverse sonic landscape. With a musical vocabulary drawing from indie pop, rock, beatboxing, vocal looping, and even classical violin, he defies easy categorization yet has achieved international appeal.
Following its recent premiere with the St. Louis Symphony, his new orchestral show comes to Hodgson Concert Hall on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. for an unforgettable night of music featuring songs from his catalog and selections from “EO9066,” his powerful work about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The concert, featuring the UGA Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Mark Cedel, is a co-production of UGA Presents and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym for violin virtuoso K Ishibashi. Having recorded, toured and collaborated with such diverse artists as Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche and of Montreal, Kishi Bashi released his first full-length album “151a” via Joyful Noise in 2012, which received high praise and the title of NPR’s Best New Artist of The Year. His follow-up album “Lighght” expanded his palette to include more diverse and nuanced instrumentation, flirting with Eastern-tinged arrangements, Philip Glass-inspired improvisations and 1970s prog. With 2016’s “Sonderlust,” his work became more intensely personal and artistically adventurous with the help of producer Chris Taylor, engineer Pat Dillet and drummer Matt Chamberlain.
“Omoiyari” is Kishi Bashi’s fourth album and perhaps his most important yet. Many of the songs were initially inspired by history and oppression, and he deftly weaves tales of love, loss and wanting to connect listeners to the past. Channeling the hard-learned lessons of history, “Omoiyari” is an uncompromising musical statement on the turbulent sociopolitical atmosphere of present-day America, lauded by NPR for its “profound empathy” and the New York Times for its “hand played yet exquisitely polished” qualities.
Over the last several years, Kishi Bashi has traveled frequently to Montana and Wyoming to work on a “song film” version of “Omoiyari” about Japanese internment. It has been an emotional and creatively potent experience for him to spend time in the American West, speaking with internment camp incarcerees and descendants. Considering his own bicultural identity as the child of Japanese immigrants has come to influence his approach to songwriting.
Kishi Bashi’s performance is part of a UGA Presents slate of roots and indie concerts. Mexico’s Villalobos Brothers appear at Hodgson Concert Hall on Nov. 2 with an infectious blend of folk, classical and rock styles. Leyla McCalla of the Carolina Chocolate Drops brings her new project about Haiti and radio to Hodgson Concert Hall on Jan. 18. Scottish folk group Breabach comes to Athens on Feb. 24, and the season concludes May 13 with bluegrass jam band Yonder Mountain String Band.
Three ways to order
- Purchase tickets online at pac.uga.edu.
- Call the Performing Arts Center box office at 706-542-4400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Visit the UGA Performing Arts Center box office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (five-minute parking is available in the drop off circle at the Performing Arts Center for purchasing or picking up tickets.)
Ticket buyers can create a series of five or more performances for 10% off.
To learn more about all UGA Performing Arts Center events, visit pac.uga.edu.