Whitney Call of Sonora, facilitator of a music exchange project between a Strawberry Music Festival and a festival in Sonora’s sister city in Japan, believes “music moves all of us.”
And whether it's residents of Kirishima, Japan, listening to home-cooked bluegrass musicians or Sonorans listening to symphonies written by Czech composers, “it's such a good idea to look outside of our small little world and make the connections we can with the outside world,” she said.
“It’s such a worthwhile project to find out what they find beauty and value and meaning in and also share what is so special to us.”
On July 6, 13 and 28, select recordings from Strawberry Music Festival, recorded in August and September 2018, will play on Kirishima FM, the regional station for Kirishima Prefecture. Comprised of both music and messages, they will broadcast at 6 p.m. PST.
The lineup for the festival included The Brothers Strong, the Travelin’ McCourys, Greg Brown, Samantha Fish, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, John Craige, The Sherman Holmes Project and Rodney Crowell.
Local community radio state KAAD-LP 103.5 FM Sonora will broadcast Symphony #9 in E minor, “From the New World,” a 1893 composition by Antonín Dvořák, on July 20 at 6 p.m. The recording comes from the Kirishima International Music Festival, held in July and August 2018.
Both broadcasts will be available to stream on each station’s respective websites.
“It’s a weird thrill of hearing our local broadcast with a Japanese language intro,” Call said. “Just the fact that I made the world a little smaller and weirder makes me very happy.”
Call, who has a bachelor's degree in language studies from UC Santa Cruz, said she revitalized the sister-city exchange with Kirishima since embarking on the project last fall.
She initially organized the exchange to bolster an application for a Japaense English teacher exchange program, she said, and decided to continue with the project despite not getting the job.
Call described the project as “feeding more life” into a sister city program, which she believed has done little in almost a decade. The sister city program was established in 2000, a radio press release said.
Call said she sent an email partly written in Japanese to Rumiko Yamaguchi, a representative of the Kirishima exchange association, to initiate the project. The woman on the other end of the world worked with a translator to set the process in motion.
Call said she worked with Hog Ranch Radio, a pirate station which broadcasts live recordings from festivals, and KAAD to make the recordings at Strawberry. CDs were sent to both parties to share the recordings, she said.
“Everything is in everybody's hands,” she said.
Call said more projects were on the horizon involving Kirishima. She said a Taiki drum performance will be played during the Second Saturday Art Walk in September as part of an installation at Tuolumne County Arts office on South Washington Street.