Shamisen concert at Yume Japanese Gardens on February 15



Posted by Carolyn Sugiyama Classen

As the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC formed last year), I publicize some of our cultural events here in Tucson.

Coming up is an exciting concert event on Saturday, February 15, featuring Japan-born, now  Canadian resident Aki Takahashi, along with Kyle Abbott (founder of

“Aki is a Japanese traditional shamisen player and folk singer. She studied traditional folk music in Kyoto, and has given shamisen and vocal performances at numerous venues and events. Since arriving in Canada, Aki has furthered her pursuit of traditional Japanese music with the addition of taiko drumming, becoming a full member of Nagata Shachu in 2003. She is the founder of the Japanese Folk ensemble ten ten, and has performed with numerous artists from a variety of other cultural backgrounds and traditions. She also creates her own original compositions and has choreographed dance pieces to accompany her music.” (from Odaiko Sonora’s FB page)

Read more about Aki at our SAJCC website, or at co-sponsor Odaiko Sonora‘s taiko drumming website.

Buy tickets online at And if you haven’t viewed the beautiful new Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way, this is your chance! It’s just south of the Tucson Botanical Gardens on Alvernon, south of Grant Rd. Phone: 520-332-2928.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


  1. More than 40 people there tonight to hear this lively concert by Aki and Kyle, performing 11 songs (a few instrumentals) with Aki singing folk songs from Japan. I recognized the bon dance one which is also popular in Hawaii. Peaceful setting at dusk in front of the koi pond, with hummingbirds flitting around the bushes.

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