Rainbow Festival, Day One


When I arrived at Kumamoto Airport in southern Kyushu Island, from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, I knew I would wait for Sachiho and her sons to arrive from Okinawa, but I didn’t know anyone would be waiting for me. When I came out of the baggage claim, there was a long-haired young man in a purple shirt, and I thought, “That must be one of my people.” In fact, it was the bass player in my band for the festival. His name is Daisuke, and he is 22 years old. Beside him stood Auta, the 12-year-old drummer who amazed me at Happy Flower Beach Party Music Festival last October. That made sense. Auta’s father, Rokuro Matsui, is the organizer of the Rainbow Festival.


An hour or so later, Sachiho Kudomi, leader for 10 years of Amana, former punk rock  bass player and leader for 17 years of the famous girl band, Zelda, widow of New Wave rock superstar, Donto, spiritual teacher, and mother of Donto’s two young musician sons, Nara (named for the ancient city, but pronounced “Nala”) age 12, and Laki (pronounced “Lucky”), soon to be 17-year-old rock lead guitarist/singer. Laki, born in New York City when Donto was recording there, and personally named by his dad’s guru, Bo Diddley, has his heart set on attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. Good move.


Daisuke drove us from Kumamoto city to the town of Aso, and up to the mountain meadow where the festival area was under construction. Rokuro Matsui and his wife, Tako, have a business making tipis, and quite a few housed their guests at the festival. Today, four days before the beginning of the festival, they erect the first few.


This gorgeous tipi is where Sachiho and her sons lived during the festival.


I lodged in a portable cabin which doubled as the musical instrument storage for Amana’s instruments and as my shop for selling books, CDs and t-shirts. Those are bamboo tipi poles leaning on the roof. Talk about East meets West.


The first people to turn up at my cabin were improvisational multi-instrumentalist Yu and and his lady, Saori, my friends from Happy Flower Beach Party Music Festival last October in Okinawa, and who have arranged for my concert June 3 at Hobbit Theatre in Tokyo.


They gave me a stack of the flier they’d prepared to publicize the concert, which I offered in my store, along with fliers for Aya Noguchi’s beautiful Living on the Earth clothing line.


A mandala sunset over Rainbow City…


And a gibbous moon over Aso Mountain.