fandogobonFandangObon: Tracing the Original Indigenous Path of the Los Angeles River

Please join us for this very special Los Angeles River walk and cultural celebration ending at the LA State Historic Park where the Fandango Obon dancing will take place. See details below about the different walks

Saturday, October 21, 2023 @ 9:00 or 10:00AM *- Sunset
Los Angeles State Historic Park (rendezvous point), 1245 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

* The event will start at 9 or 10am, depending on the route. See route options below.

Register: Please RSVP in the bottom section. If you plan to join a procession walk, read the descriptions below and click on the walk with the person with whom you will proceed. Our event organizer, Marsha Hirano-Nakanishi, will be joining Nobuko Miyamoto’s walk, Route 2.

Cost: No charge
Contact: Marsha Hirano-Nakanishi,

Great Leap’s FandangObon (FO) convenes into one circle to include participatory music and dance traditions of Fandango of Vera Cruz, Mexico rooted in African, Mexican and indigenous music; Japanese Buddhist Obon circle dances in remembrance of ancestors; and West African dance and drums of Nigeria and New Guinea. Quetzal Flores of QUETZAL, Grammy-award winning band, has helped spread the Fandango throughout the U.S.. Great Leap’s Nobuko Miyamoto has composed contemporary Obon pieces danced by over 10,000 people yearly at Obon Festivals in So Cal. Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble and Le Ballet Dembaya take West African dance into schools and communities throughout LA.


*9 or 10 am — three procession walks start at the LA State Historic Park with Lazaro Arvizu, Jr (Gabrielino/Tongva), Tina Calderon (Gabrielino, Tongva, Chumash, Yoeme), and Nobuko Miyamoto (who has organized multicultural Fandango Obon involving Buddhist, West African, New Guinea, and Quetzal music and dance traditions). Marsha Hirano-Nakanishi is joining Route 2 with Nobuko Miyamoto; she looks forward to seeing Harvard folks at LA State Historic Park where the three procession walks will meet.
*11 am — procession walks return to LA State Historic Park to celebrate the LA River and the water ecology of California, including family-friendly art workshops, panel discussions, and opportunities to learn about critical social and environmental issues from communities who have been adversely affected by the diversion of the river and its resources.
*11:45 am to 4 pm — Fandango Obon, as well as
*4 to 6 pm — DJ Dance Party

Along with RSVPing below, so the organizer is able to provide everyone with any new information, please also please go to and hit JOIN to get continually updates from the Procession and Festival organizers.


Would you like to be a part of the historic, 300-person Procession performance on October 21? This trio of walks, led by community leaders and Culture Bearers, retraces three historical courses of the Los Angeles River and converges at the LA State Historic Park. Sign up here:

Please plan on arriving at the starting point of your chosen route by 9:00 am. All processions will commence promptly at 10:00 am.

fandang1Route 1 (Placita Olvera/Downtown) led by Tina Calderon

Meeting point: Placita Olvera, 125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Length: Approximately 1.5 miles

Click here to sign up for Route 1!

Tina Calderon is a Culture Bearer of Gabrielino Tongva, Chumash, and Yoeme descent. She is also a traditional singer, dancer, storyteller, and poet who strives to honor her ancestors and inspire others to respect the lands, water, sacred elements, and environment.

fandang2Route 2 (Little Tokyo/Chinatown) led by Nobuko Miyamoto

Meeting point: Japanese American National Museum, 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Length: Approximately 1.9 miles
We recommend this route for families with young children or people with mobility issues.

Click here to sign up for Route 2!

Nobuko Miyamoto is a songwriter, dance and theater artist, and the founder of Great Leap. She uses art as a form of activism to reclaim history, identity, and build solidarity among communities of color. A veteran of Broadway and film, she found her own voice as a troubadour in the ‘70s Asian American movement.

fandang3Route 3 (Lincoln Heights/Downey Park) led by Lazaro Arvizu Jr.

Meeting point Downey Park, 1739 Albion St, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Length: Approximately 1.2 miles

Click here to sign up for Route 3!

Lazaro Arvizu Jr. (Gabrielino/Tongva) is an artist, educator, musician, and researcher dedicated to the culture of the First Peoples of Los Angeles. Born in the Los Angeles Basin, he is knowledgeable of the landscape and cosmology of the Gabrielino culture. He has worked for over twenty years facilitating creative and meaningful cultural experiences to people of all ages and walks of life.


10:00AM - 6:00PM Sat 21 Oct 2023, Pacific timezone


Los Angeles State Historic Park (rendezvous point)
1245 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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