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Sound Focus

Kidnapping Water

Dave Beck
08/12/2008

When Byron Au Yong looks at water in a stream or a bottle, he sees the story of his own family's journey from China. Today, he shares the inspiration behind Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas. Later, Chika Togashi demonstrates the art of Japanese sweets known as 'wagashi.'

At 2:05 p.m. – Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas

The water you drink could come from a mountain spring in France, a bottling plant in Marietta, Georgia, or the Cascade Mountains. Whatever the source, water travels a long way before it gets to you. Seattle–based composer Byron Au Yong looks at water and sees the story of his own family's journey from China, to the Philippines, and finally to the U.S. He explores this metaphor and the themes of forced migration in his new set of compositions called Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas. Just yesterday, Byron and a group of musicians had a public performance at the fountain at Seattle City Hall.

At 2:20 p.m. – Interlochen Arts Adventures

Peer pressure can be a good thing. Witnessing extraordinary accomplishments by those of your own generation inspires great accomplishment in the arts and all endeavors. Thom Feild is a Seattle based artist and designer whose book Pine Nuts recounts his transformative experiences at Michigan's Interlochen Arts Camp. Thom joins us with stories of how his fellow campers high standards of artistic excellence shaped his life.

At 2:30 p.m. – Lynette Johnson – Soulumination

Think of the photographs you display in your home. They are likely of happy moments, the times you want to always remember. Local photographer Lynette Johnson captures experiences that some people may rather forget. She photographs dying and seriously ill children through her foundation, Soulumination. In an archive interview from January 7, 2008, she tells Megan Sukys about how her volunteer service began with a wedding.

At 2:40 p.m. – Jesse Holt on Video Game Soundtracks

For Seattle composer and sound designer Jesse Holt, musical composition is a highly visual undertaking. Jesse has written soundtracks for dozens of video games that are played around the world. He says his musical style is wide ranging. But whatever style he adopts comes from a visual image with high impact. He says he "hears things in graphics." Jesse is a composer and sound designer for Gamehouse Studios and RealNetworks. He joins us to share his own music and that of other composers whose work has influenced video game soundtracks.

At 2:50 p.m. – Tokara Japanese Confectionery

In Japan, there is a centuries old tradition of making sweets called wagashi. Natural, seasonal ingredients like plants and grains are crafted into little, edible works of art. Japanese wagashi makers must practice their craft for years before they can use their skills publicly. Chika Togashi grew up in Japan. When she started learning wagashi at the age of 25, nobody believed she'd take it seriously. But now she runs her own Japanese confectionery in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood. She tells Jeannie Yandel what it took to get there.

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