Kore Ionz celebrates heritage month at BC

Photo courtesy of the Asian Pacific Celebration Coordinator

Local (and awesome) musicians have definitely been frequenting the Bellevue College campus lately. Following our Earth Week guests Kris Orlowski and the Passenger String Quartet, Seattle reggae rockers Kore Ionz is coming to Bellevue College in celebration of the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month on Monday, May 7, at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The five-member band of lead vocal and rhythm guitarist Daniel Pak, percussionist Ahkeenu Musa, bassist Brendan DeMelle, drummer Teo Shantz and keyboardist Kiley Sullivan will perform, as described by Joe Williams of the Seattle Weekly, “soulful, thumpin’ reggae that sounds like it was birthed right in the heart of New Orleans, with enough jazz heart to lead a Jamaican revolution of peace and love.”

“We know them from the Asian Pacific [Islanders] Heritage Celebration in downtown Seattle…[we chose] Kore Ionz because their music is very [inspiring] and unique. Their songs are very good and educational because one of their music [concepts] is ‘world war free’ and [they] have a world wide group,” said Zeta Chik, coordinator of this event, in an e-mail.

When Chik deemed Kore Ionz an educational group, she did mean it quite literally. The band’s first album, “Half-Hour Revolution” was released in 2008 and 50 percent of the earnings from the album went to Service Board, a nonprofit group that helps underprivileged youth develop a sense of responsibility and community. In Aug. 20, 2011, Kore Ionz released their second album “World War Free” which intended to give people a glimpse of the truth and possibly uplift them to go make a change.

The band’s name Kore Ionz was initially a joke as both Pak and a former member were half-Korean. Beyond that, the name Kore Ionz actually has a more profound meaning. According to Pak, like in chemistry where there are positive and negative ions, in our daily lives there are positive and negative people, happiness and sadness, love and hate. When negative and positive ions bond, stability is obtained (think sodium chloride). Likewise, Kore Ionz stands for the idea of everyone getting along.

“War has and always will be about competition,” said Pak. “For food, resources, energy. In the cave man days, tribes would fight to survive…then over the course of thousands of years technology advanced and now, in our modern age, it’s at the point where we could make ourselves extinct with one bad decision.”

Kore Ionz’s visit to Bellevue College is part of the Asian Pacific Heritage Celebration that takes place both in downtown Seattle and on campus every year in May. On campus, the celebration aims at gathering Asian students to celebrate their cultures and helping other students understand the value and specialties behind each Asian culture. “…A lot of people see Asian as one culture; however, we are not all the same,” said Chik.

Apart from the Kore Ionz concert, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., several clubs and programs will be joining the celebration in the cafeteria in conjunction with an Asian street fashion show on the same day featuring the most up-to-date fashion from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and some more. If that isn’t good enough, bubble tea from Boba Express in Factoria will also be served on a first-come, first-served basis during the event. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like free drinks?

For more information, please contact Zeta Chik at zeta.chik@bellevuecollege.edu or Nora Lance at nora.lance@bellevuecollege.edu.