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San Diego's Japanese Friendship Garden Society celebrates their annual Aki no Matsuri Festival with an October 15 concert featuring singer/songwriter/pianist Emi Meyer at the Balboa Theatre..

Meyer was born in Kyoto Japan and raised in Seattle. Her bicultural heritage has shaped the unique jazz-inspired pop sound heard on her three albums, one of which is entirely in Japanese.

Proceeds from this concert will help to complete the Garden's expansion project.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Meyer moved to Seattle before the age of one and started piano lessons at age six. Growing up between cultures, she thinks & feels unconventionally. Her music spans borders and channels an old soul gained from clearing her own space. Jazz's spontaneous jams, its synchronization between fingers and voice, and the search for genuine words enticed her to write, use, and sing her own.

With the release of her first album, Curious Creature, Meyer was invited to perform at the legendary Sundance Film Festival and shot to #1 on the Japanese jazz charts after her single "Room Blue" was chosen Single of the Week on iTunes. She continued to evolve as an artist and broaden her concept of songwriting with her Japanese-language second album, Passport.

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Her latest album, Suitcase of Stones, is a return to the English language and unites the light-heartedness of traveling with the solemnity of memory.

Meyer's sound is a blend of jazz, pop, soul, and so much more that is not often found in today's world of filters and autotune. Powerful lyrics are carried along by her melodies with the confidence of a modern female vocalist.

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The mission of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego is to create a Japanese-style garden dedicated to the well-being of all people which provides educational programs that encourage understanding of the Japanese heritage among people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures.

Image Built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition, the original tea house stood for more than 30 years as a symbol of the strong cultural and commercial ties that linked two of the world's leading nations. After the Exposition, strong community interest kept the Japanese Tea Pavilion open for 30 years within Balboa Park, San Diego's cultural center.

Image Visit the San Diego History Center website for a detailed account of the Panama-California Exposition San Diego 1915-1916, by Richard Amero. These B&W images from archives of the Historical Society

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden Society website, "Key citizens of San Diego invested their time and efforts to rebuild the tea house. Lovers of the beauties of past ages regretted the passing of the Japanese tea house and garden in Balboa Park. The San Diego citizens rejoiced over the opening in August 1990, of the first phase of the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego."

Today, the Japanese Friendship Garden is visited by close to 100,000 people every year from all over United States and around the world. Legacies have helped in all stages of the development from the earliest days.

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The first phase of the Garden site of two acres was opened in 1991 and the second phase completed in 1999.

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The expansion will include a traditional tea house, a pavilion for three hundred patrons, outdoor amphitheatre and meandering paths that are handicap accessible. As part of the "living" museum the new landscape will consist of a tea and herb garden, a cherry tree grove, a camillia and azaela garden as well as a waterfall and streams.

"This completed Garden will be a major cultural addition to Balboa Park," says the Society, "incorporating the highest principles, values, and traditions of the art of the Japanese garden." For more information on this project, visit http://www.niwa.org .

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Emi Meyer: Live, benefit for the Japanese Friendship Garden Society

Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Avenue

Saturday, October 15, 2011, 4:00 PM

Tickets: $42 - $21.50, http://www.sandiegotheatres.org

Information & Charge by Phone: 619-570-1100, also @ Ticketmaster.com

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