By Patte Purcell

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Kuramoto the truly legendary originator of the ground breaking Hiroshima, who will be in concert at Grooves at the Westin Saturday, May 16.

Vibrant, eclectic and truly original, the multi-GRAMMY nominated Hiroshima creates a musical world all its own.  The intoxicating mix of traditional Japanese folk music and instruments interwoven with Jazz, R& B, Salsa, and more has been a pioneering voice in contemporary music since the 1970’s. After 30 years and 4 million records sold worldwide, they continue to make their unique mix of East meets West their signature sound.

Dan Kuramoto started the band in 1974. Dan’s vision to combine American west coast music together with Japanese music to start an exchange of culture morphed into one of the best loved groups in the industry.

The Los Angeles-based ensemble is led by Dan Kuramoto (woodwinds, producer/ composer) and the virtuoso, June Kuramoto (“the world’s greatest koto player”- Stanley Clark), Kimo Cornwell (piano/ keyboards/composer — formerly with Al Jarreau and Maze), Danny Yamamoto (drums/percussion — original member) and Dean Cortez (bass—formerly with Boz Scaggs)

This unique sound has an almost haunting musical quality to it with the superb koto artistry of June, deemed as ‘world’s best Koto player’ by Stanley Clark. The music is distinctive and lilting.

“A cool mix of multiculturalism,” according to Dan. “There’s a little jazz, R&B, all mixed into the show.”

I asked Dan why the name Hiroshima was chosen. He explained the band evolved in the 70’s when music was the greatest cultural force of the time and cited Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Earth, Wind, and Fire, which all had an enormous influence on them. He realized that there was no Japanese influence and decided to call it Hiroshima.

The band has sold over 4,000,000 CDs and had 2 gold records. In 1980 they were voted “The Best new band of the year” by Billboard and Cashbox. Their audience has followed them for 30 years.  We discussed the challenges of the music industry as the days of CDs fall away and people go to downloads. Dan’s positive attitude will surely carry them well into this new time and keep them on the cutting edge. He records every show so that when they come back to the same area he makes sure that they have 25% to 30% new songs so the show is never the same. They love to perform for their fans and truly appreciate their participation and loyalty.

The group is recording a new CD call Songs with Words in a live studio recording. This is something different for them as their songs are primarily instrumental. They are growing their music into something you’ve never heard before.

They’ve been touring mostly the US the last 2 years. They are very excited to be coming back to the desert in “Grooves at the Westin” produced by Michael Paulo with his wife Terri Paulo and promoted by Jim Pedone who also brought them to “Grooves at the Grove” a few years ago to a sold out crowd. This will be the only appearance here in the desert since then, so fans are expected to be coming in from all over.

There’s even a special room rate for out of town guests from the Westin of only $129. (Normally $400 a night) just use the code JAZZ when booking your reservation.  This is the perfect time to get away and spend the night, groove under the stars and enjoy this fabulous event. This is the last concert for the spring series. A fall series is already in the works according to Michael Paulo and Jim Pedone.

For more information on the band visit www.hiroshimamusic.com 

To book a room for the event, contact the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. The show is outdoors under the palms and is truly the most beautiful venue this series has been hosted by. Located in beautiful Rancho Mirage at 71333 Dinah Shore Drive. Hotel Reservations are $129 for the event code word JAZZ, 1-760-328-5955 or 1-877-253-0041.

Tickets are available through Ticket Master. Phone 1-951-696-0184. General admission tickets are $45 and there are VIP tables as well. There is also a dinner package that includes a 3 course dinner and a reserved seat to watch the concert from $99.00 call 1-760-770-2150 to reserve your spot for the dinner. Doors open at 6, concert is at 7. See you there!

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