Kishi Bashi Enchants All and Excites Compassion at Mohawk

 

It was the perfect Saturday at Mohawk for any seeking heart; the first breeze of Fall blessed Austin as Kishi Bashi and his band enchanted the audience with their orchestra ensemble, playing a mix of hits and songs off his new album Omoiyari – Japanese for Compassion. 

 

Kishi Bashi stood center on violin, playing with fervor, fun, and grace. Pip the Pansy stood to his left, with a black hat like a 70s lampshade and a flute in a quiver on her back. Creativity and sensitivity oozed from the stage and was met with the same from the audience. 

 

The sounds and lyrics of Omoiyari are whimsical and steeped in love, but the album’s narrative grounds itself in the historical and cultural context of the Japanese American internment camps during World War II. Kishi Bashi delves into a sociopolitical study of history in his songfilm, Omoiyari, and the lessons of empathy we can learn from a not distant past. Given the detention camps at our border and the festering schism in our country, Kishi Bashi’s album and artistry provides us with hope and a compass. The film is scheduled for release in early 2020. Let’s all go see it and then hang out with Kishi Bashi! 

 

Kishibashi introduced “Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear” as, “a song about love...that thing all we humans are looking for,” but many songs on the album are reminiscent of love. See “Marigolds;” he sings “I was the only one this century/ to remind you all is fine” and, “I wish I met you when your heart was safe to hold.” Or even, “Song for You,” that sings just like it sounds, “a song for you...it’s all for you.” 

 

The encore featured an audience favorite The Ballad for Mr.Steak with Mr. Steak himself, a walking steak! Once the steak exited the stage, an elegant white crane appeared behind Kishi Bashi. He closed the night with Summer of ‘42, penetrating my soul and bringing literal tears to my eyes, and there’s no way I was the only one. Every song, every note, everything about the performance felt genuine and carried out with the express interest to promote COMPASSION. Thank you, Kishi. Your art and compassion change the world! 

 

 

Melissa Green