"Listen to the sounds around you to inspire rhythms or melodies—sometimes a bird singing, the pitter patter of the rain, the breaking of waves from the ocean, or the rhythmic sounds of a wheel turning—make them into a song. Stay still a bit longer and you will hear melodies and rhythms from your heart."
Mentoring from the stage, June donated her salary back, and Inception took the kids and families to see June perform with Hiroshima and apply what she taught in studio. It is one thing to be told to play your instrument out of the box. It is another to see your mentor demonstrate exactly that in front of 18,000 people.
Headshot Photo: Pastor Ken Fong
Born in Japan, JUNE KURAMOTO came to America at age six with her mother, brother and two sisters and was raised in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles. Almost by destiny, a renowned koto master Madame Kazue Kudo, protégé of one of Japan’s most famous kotoist/composer, Michio Miyagi, also immigrated to the United States around the same time and began teaching (o)koto in June’s family home. Using her grandmother’s koto, June, at age seven, found comfort and connection in playing this ancient Japanese instrument. She subsequently received her classical koto degrees (natori) from the Miyagi School of Koto in Tokyo, Japan.
Along Ms. Kuramoto’s musical journey she realized she is an American artist and wanted to integrate this music that is her life with the American culture and music that she also loves. She joined up with Dan Kuramoto, leader of Hiroshima, and has since been one of the driving artistic forces of Hiroshima, creating a multi-cultural musical statement. Hiroshima has received two grammy nominations, the Soul Train Award and many more awards and acknowledgements. She also had the great privilege to study with the late Brazilian composer, arranger and musician, Mocair Santos, who sparked the inspiration to begin composing and epitomized America’s evolving art and music culture.
June has had the great honor and privilege to record and/or perform with Ravi Shankar, George Duke, Manhattan Transfer, A Taste of Honey, Stanley Clarke, Angela Bofill, Teddy Pendergrass, Keiko Matsui, David Benoit, Michael Paulo, Kenny Endo, Daniel Ho, Ozomatli to name a few. She can also be heard on motion picture and television scores such as “The Last Samurai” (one of the featured musicians), “Heroes”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Xena the Princess Warrior”, “Blade II”, “Black Rain”; and various commercials.
Her heart is always with children, Mother Earth and dignity of all human beings. She is extremely honored to be part of this inspirational “Inception Orchestra”.
She has three CDs--“Under the Stars”, “Spirit and Soul” and “The Way of Tea” with Derek Nakamoto. She is forever grateful for the help and support from her families, friends, Hiroshima and the multitude of communities.
Listen to June Kuramoto's lecture on the koto, creativity and all that jazz.