Featured Artists

McGregor-Verdejo Duo
The McGregor-Verdejo Duo was formed in 2016 by flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor and guitarist Adrian Verdejo. The Duo’s dedication to fostering new music has resulted in the premieres of many new works by Canadian and international composers. The McGregor-Verdejo Duo’s 2020 activities include their first residency at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras in Morelia, Mexico, and performances for the Strata Festival in Saskatoon and the Regina Classical Guitar Society.

 Carolyn Nakagawa and Laura Fukumoto
Carolyn Nakagawa is a poet, playwright, and cultural organizer whose practice is deeply informed by history and her work at the Nikkei National Museum. She is currently developing a musical titled The New Canadians. Laura Fukumoto is a writer and designer. Her debut writing and directing project, Where the Quiet Queers Are, was honourably mentioned for two awards at the Vancouver Fringe 2019. Both graduates of UBC, Mending Circle is their first collaboration.


Kisyuu & Shion: Calligraphy & Dance Kisyuu’s brush movement and Shion’s body movement will correspond to each other and synchronize to create the art piece together. A close-up of Kisyuu’s brush movement will be captured and projected on the screen while Shion is dancing with the projected calligraphy art as a background. Later Kisyuu will move on to the bigger canvas to create a bigger piece. Kisyuu is a Japanese calligrapher, born and raised in Japan. Her brush with sumi-ink dances on paper to create shapes and letters to express herself and communicate with the others. She believes in the power of art which creates peace both inner and outer. Shion Skye Carter is a performing artist originally from Tajimi, Japan, and based in Vancouver. Shion’s own choreographic projects are influenced by her personal ethnographic history and merge her interests in other creative disciplines with physical performance. Her new solo work is called Residuals (住み・墨).

Emergency!! – Clala Dance Project
Emergency!! is a comical piece illustrating the frustration, impatience and hopelessness everyone must have experienced at least once in their lifetime by rushing to the bathroom — only to find it occupied!! Dancers take you through dreams, memories, and hallucinations of their anxious experiences in public bathrooms. Recently adored by a variety of audiences at Dancing on the Edge (2019) and at Open Stage, it is perfect mix of theatre and dance topped with light comedy.

Clala Dance Project was co-founded in 2016 by Chihiro Nukuto and Tomoyo Yamada, both graduates from Mukogawa Women’s University in Hyogo, Japan. Following Tomoyo’s relocation to Vancouver Canada, the project-based collective is currently run by dancers Charlotte Telfer-Wan, Ana Daria Vieru and Tomoyo Yamada. Clala creates work shedding light on cultural identities and identity politics. Their works have been presented in festivals such as REVERBdance Festival (New York), Dancing on the Edge (Vancouver), and Open Stage at The Dance Centre (Vancouver).

Choreographer: Tomoyo Yamada
Dancers: Jen Aoki, Kestrel Paton, Tomoyo Yamada, Charlotte Telfer-Wan Music by: Julian Telfer-Wan

De Couto/Say/Arai Organ Trio

De Couto/Say/Arai Organ Trio
The de Couto/Say/Arai Organ Trio is a Vancouver ensemble led by Jason de Couto on Hammond B3 Organ and features local jazz legends Dave Say on Saxophone and Bernie Arai on Drums. All three members are active and integral musicians in the local music scene and work in a variety of ensembles as leaders and sidemen. They have come together to form a unique and dynamic sound rarely heard in Vancouver, featuring the mighty Hammond Organ. The group plays a mix of Jazz, Funk, Pop, Latin, and Blues music, with influences ranging from Jimmy Smith, and Jimmy McGriff, to Larry Goldings and Sam Yahel.

Kaya Kurz

Kaya Kurz
Kaya is a vocalist and songwriter based in Burnaby, BC with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz from Capilano University. As a queer woman of colour, she values diversity and representation, and strives to create inclusive spaces in the Vancouver music scene.


Banana Bread
Banana Bread is a Pop / R&B choral group comprised of 3 first generation Japanese Canadians. Now residing in Vancouver, this Japanese multi-instrumental group combines English and Japanese lyrics with a touch of ukulele sound.

Henry Tsang

360 Riot Walk – Henry Tsang
360 Riot Walk is an interactive walking tour of the 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver that traces the history and route of the mob that attacked the Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian communities following the demonstration and parade organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League in Vancouver. Participants are brought into the social and political environment of the time where racialized communities were targeted through legislated as well as physical acts of exclusion and violence. The soundtrack is available in four languages of the local residents of the period: English, Cantonese, Japanese and Punjabi.

Henry Tsang’s projects explore the spatial politics of history, language, community, food and cultural translation in relationship to place. His artworks employ video, photography, language, interactive media, food and convivial events in the form of gallery exhibitions, public art, pop-up street food offerings, curated dinners and more. Henry teaches at Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

The Deep Cove

The Deep Cove
The Deep Cove is excited to premiere their music video for “Pills” at Powell Street Festival! This dream-like video is animated by beloved Tokyo-based artist, Ryo Inoue, known for his animated series on NHK, “Bijutune!.” The Deep Cove is an art-pop band led by multi-disciplinary artist, Leanne Dunic. “Pills” is the first song off their latest release, The Gift: A Story and Music.


Jeff Chiba Stearns

Jeff Chiba Stearns 
Jeff Chiba Stearns is an Emmy® nominated animation and documentary filmmaker. He is also an accomplished author and illustrator. Born in Kelowna, BC of Japanese and European ancestry, Jeff’s work often focuses on themes of multi-ethnic identity. His feature length documentary, One Big Hapa Family (2010) became the quintessential film on mixed Japanese Canadian identity.

Jeff wrote and illustrated his first children’s book Mixed Critters in 2018 and just released his second children’s book Nori and His Delicious Dreams featuring a mixed Japanese Canadian main character. Jeff is currently working on his first graphic novel, an intergenerational Japanese Canadian story entitled On Being Yukiko, with Japanese Canadian artist Lillian Michiko Blakey. For the Powell Street Festival Telethon, Jeff will be presenting his latest works with a reading of Nori and His Delicious Dreams along with a sneak peak at his upcoming graphic novel and drawing lesson on how he created his ‘hapanimation’ style.

Vancouver Taiko Society

Vancouver Taiko Society
Vancouver is the birthplace of taiko in Canada and home to numerous taiko groups, each with a unique identity. The Vancouver Taiko Society (VTS) was formed in 2002, with a board made up of  members of Chibi Taiko, Katari Taiko, Onibana Taiko, Sawagi Taiko, Sansho Daiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko. VTS has organized several Regional Taiko Gatherings for taiko players from the Pacific Northwest and has instigated/taken part in a number of large-scale collaborative projects including Taiko for Tohoku, in support of victims of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake; Against the Current, a collaboration with Indigenous artists on the theme of salmon that was performed at the 2015 Powell Street Festival and Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival; and taikotronics, in partnership with the Vancouver New Music Society. VTS is currently undertaking a feasibility study to look into the creation of permanent Taiko Centre


Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre

Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre
The Nikkei National Museum has digitized 56 historical home movies from its moving image collection. These short clips portray the personal and public lives of Japanese Canadians from the 1920s to the 1970s on the west coast, throughout Canada, and abroad. This presentation provides a unique perspective on Canadian history highlighting generations of the Japanese Canadian community and their resilience in a time of discrimination. Financial support from Library and Archives Canada and the NNMCC Auxiliary.

Wind in the Pines by Aretha Aoki and Ryan MacDonald
This video of Wind in the Pines is an edited version of a 60-min live performance at KCAI Crossroads Gallery in Kansas City, MO on October 25 & 26, 2019. Wind in the Pines weaves memoir, Noh theater, digital animation, sound and dancing to create an immersive excavation of a mysterious family past. Centering around Aretha Aoki’s Japanese family history during World War II, Wind in the Pines attempts to make the past feel present, despite language barriers, geographical and cultural distances, and the imperfection of memory.  Multiple mediums, references and images create a space where history, fiction, imagination and embodiment can co-exist.

Aretha Aoki and Ryan MacDonald
Choreography by Aretha Aoki in collaboration with the performers
Performed by Aretha Aoki, Shaina Cantino and Alice MacDonald
Video and sound by Ryan MacDonald
Lighting Design by Christopher Akerlind


Spirit of Nihonmachi by Greg Masuda
The Spirit of Nihonmachi shows the Powell Street Festival from a perspective not often considered: that of the residents of the community in which it takes place. This documentary follows the festival experience of two of its Downtown Eastside volunteers who answer the question, “What is it that brings you back to the festival every year?” Segments of this documentary will be shown throughout the Telethon, providing a reminder of the festival’s magic and ability to connect and uplift communities.

Nikkei filmmaker Greg Masuda was commissioned to create this short film for the PSFS 35th Anniversary. He is a visual storyteller interpreting real-life stories through immersion in the worlds of his subjects, striving to connect his audience through genuine experiences. Greg’s approach to storytelling invokes emotional responses and inspires reflection on topics that affect the human, and society’s, condition.