Memorial Service for Asami Nagakiya
Asami Nagakiya, a thirty-year-old professional musician from Japan who had been coming to Trinidad for seven years to play the steelpan, was murdered during the 2016 Carnival celebrations. Her body was discovered on Ash Wednesday in the Queen’s Park Savannah near the Queen’s Royal College.
The details of the tragedy, aside from forensic reports that concluded that she was strangled, are still unknown.
Asami shared a close relationship with several members of the steelband community, including the Codrington Pan Family. This family, comprising mother and father Cary and Karen and their children Keisha, Kareem, Kizzi, Kamau, Khari, Kaijah and daughter-in-law Rochelle, held a memorial service on Sunday 17th April, 2016, for Nagakiya under the tree where her body was discovered.
This service was also meant to bring to awareness a Codrington Family Project, “Play One for Asami”, which is aimed at preserving her musical legacy. Inspired by the beautiful sounds of the steelpan instrument, as well as by her experiences in Trinidad and Tobago, Nagakiya composed the piece “Dreaming Girl”.
The solo version of this composition which will be used in a music video, along with a video recording of the Codrington Pan Family’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone”, will be sent to Japan for her family and friends.
The rest of the steelpan community and lovers of the instrument would also be privy to the Codrington Pan Family’s “Dreaming Girl” rendition. The song will also be adapted for a full steel orchestra.
The small gathering of friends, former band-mates and other persons assembled to express their grief as well as to celebrate the memory of the late musician. The get-together included members from Silver Stars Steel Orchestra, Phase II Steel Orchestra, Pan Trinbago PRO Michael Joseph, pannist Wayne Gulston, prominent attorney Martin Daly, pan researcher Kim Johnson and Francis Joseph.
Also viewing from a distance were two representatives from the Japanese Embassy to Trinidad and Tobago.
During the service, friends and well-wishers shared their fondest memories of Nagakiya, danced in remembrance of Asami, rendered poetry in her honour and dedicated several pan pieces to her including “Some Day” which was composed by Cary Codrington Junior and Nagakiya’s own “Dreaming Girl”.
Particularly moving was a dance by Asami’s pan student Naomi Kyanbero who held a bouquet of flowers as she danced to one of Nagkiya’s favourite songs “You Are Not Alone” in tribute to her friend and teacher.
Flowers were also laid and candles lit and placed around the tree where Asami’s body was discovered.
Memorial Service for Asami Nagkiya 2016 in pictures