For Troy Osaki and Ariel Loud, winning Kollaboration Seattle 2013 is more than just about fame and money – it’s about sharing the story of their identity, heritage and family history. A story about being Asian American.
For Troy, collaborating with Ariel brought his poetry to a new level that he never thought was possible. He said, “From the beginning, my goal has been to share my story as best as possible in hope to build and connect with others.” The duo stole everyone’s heart when they performed an original poem “Morning Service” on September 21, 2013 at Edmonds Center for the Arts.
The poem “Morning Service” was written by Troy in honor of his ancestors. He said that growing up, he never valued where he came from or his grandmother’s effort in teaching him Japanese or Buddhist traditions. Going for a little bit of history; Troy’s grandmother was incarcerated during WWII and was imprisoned at Camp Minidoka in Idaho, while Troy’s great-grandfather, who was a minister at the Seattle Buddhist Temple at the time, was taken around various prisons for being a leader in the Japanese community. Now that Troy realizes the value and importance of his heritage, he’d like to show appreciation to his grandmother for all the things she had gone through as a Japanese American.
“I’m thankful for all of her strength, courage and hope to continue carrying our culture as bravely as she did in honor of her and our ancestors,” he said.
While “Morning Service” is Troy’s dedication to his grandmother, Ariel was able to relate through his own family’s story. Ariel’s mother and the rest of her family came to the United States from Saigon, Vietnam by US Naval Ship in 1975. He shared that throughout his school years, he had studied the atrocities of the Vietnam War and other countless instances where our country treated the rest of the world like a chess board. He personally would have not supported the Vietnam War, but he wouldn’t exist without it. “It” meaning all the lives and landscapes lost and damaged during the war. “It” meaning the forever scars and memories that some people have to constantly carry from the war.
“The legacy of my own heritage helped inspire me to compose the prelude and soundtrack to Troy’s poem,” Ariel stated. In the intro, he quoted “Sakura,” a Japanese folktale about blooming cherry blossoms, which he found to be hauntingly beautiful. He continued, “That song itself parallels one of the central messages of our piece: the forward movement of life following even the longest and darkest of winters.”
SO . . . WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE DUO?
Troy: Being a part of Kollaboration Seattle 4 and winning the grand prize has been an incredible and exciting experience. I’ve had a blast throughout this process and am thankful for all the support and opportunities Kollaboration has provided. Being able share our work with the Asian American community has been rewarding in and of itself. My next step is to invest my winnings back into poetry and produce more material to share. Feel free to follow me YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter for updates!
Ariel: Though it has taken a while to really sink in, winning Kollaboration Seattle 4 has stirred up within me a solemn mixture of gratitude, wonder, affirmation, blessedness, and of course lots and lots of joy. While we were confident in the power of our piece to reach across generation gaps and ethnic differences to move people, I can’t say we expected to win. The next step is waiting for Kollaboration to kick off the online voting process to decide which five of the thirteen regional Kollaboration winners will fly to LA to compete on the national scale, so that we can call upon all of our networks for support to be able to represent Seattle. Of course, we will also be further developing our piece because if we end up going to LA we know the competition there will be nothing short of fierce.
If you weren’t at our show, don’t worry – here’s the piece they performed. Enjoy “Morning Service” by Troy Osaki and Ariel Loud, Kollaboration Seattle 2013 winner.
Also – don’t forget to check out the newly remodeled Kollaboration website. Stay tuned to find out how you can vote Troy & Ariel to represent Seattle at Kollaboration Star! Tickets go on sale October 10th!