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© 2002

GREAT LEAP : ARTISTS : NOBUKO

 

Nobuko Miyamoto

When Nobuko Miyamoto began writing music 30 years ago, there was virtually no such thing as Asian American music. In 1973, together with Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin, "A Grain of Sand," she created the first album of Asian American music, now part of the Smithsonian Institution collection.

Since 1978, Nobuko has been Artistic Director of Great Leap, Inc., a non-profit arts organization which uses the arts to promote deeper understanding between the diverse cultures of America. Some of her works include musicals such as “Chop Suey,” “Talk Story,” and “Joanne is My Middle Name,” short film “Gaman” and video, “A Gathering of Joy.” She also produces “A Slice of Rice, Frijoles and Greens,” a touring multicultural theater production.

Nobuko began her career as a dancer in film and Broadway musicals such as “West Side Story,” “The King and I” and “Flower Drum Song.” Music has always been at the core of Nobuko’s work. She co-produced her second album “Best of Both Worlds,” as well as the album, “Dini Clark Sings Duke Ellington.” She has also worked on the other side of the camera when her song “Yuiyo” and choreography were in the film, “Karate Kid II.” One of her songs is part of a HBO children’s show called “Happily Ever After.”

Nobuko’s belief in the power of art to transform self and society propels her to continue to perform in concerts of her music. She also tours her one-woman show, “A Grain of Sand,” to colleges and theaters across the country. “A Grain of Sand” shares her personal journey to find and follow her inner voice.

Nobuko currently gives lectures, teaches workshops, and leads residencies across the country. She has taught several courses of “Finding Your Own Voice” at UCLA with the Asian American Studies Center and lectures on her "Journey of Art Making, Activism and Creating Community.” Recently, Nobuko collaborated with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in the Los Angeles “Hallelujah Project,” presented by the Skirball Cultural Center. She is the Artistic Director of the To All Relations residencies in Phoenix, San Jose, Detroit, Watts and Boyle Heights.

Nobuko's album, “To All Relations” was released in 1997 and the reissue of “A Grain of Sand” was re-issued in CD format in 1998. Both are available on Bindu Records.

Nobuko’s career with Great Leap stands as a testament to her unique and powerful vision of that place where theater, community, and creativity meet.

To email the artist directly: nobuko@greatleap.org