This year's Taste of History benefit on Oct. 27 will feature Wesley Ueunten – musician, activist and scholar of Okinawan culture – as he explores "History Through Song."
Ueunten, an associate professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The grandson of Okinawan immigrants, he celebrates his heritage in song and spoken word, while examining the Okinawan diaspora that led to communities in California and elsewhere.
While living and studying on Okinawa, Ueunten learned to speak the language and play traditional music on the sanshin, a three-stringed instrument with a distinctive, melancholic sound.
He also lived and studied among the Okinawan community of Tokyo, after earning a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies and a master’s in sociology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Upon returning to the United States, Ueunten earned a doctorate in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He now lives in the Bay Area, where he teaches, performs music and promotes Okinawan culture and identity.
Through music and lyrics, Ueunten will share the stories of a unique and resilient people. After a short presentation, the program will also include live jazz, hors d’oeuvres and local wines.
The Taste of History is a benefit for the California History Center Foundation and the Euphrat Museum of Art. Proceeds will support after-school arts classes for at-risk youth, and De Anza student multimedia projects that preserve and share our local history.
Tickets are $75. For more information, please visit the Taste of History webpage.