Band performs in Belmont Library for the Mid-Autumn Festival


Erwan Pal

Enrique Rojas on guitar, Alex Farrell on bass, Mark Davis on trumpet, and Shura Taylor on guzheng are performing in the Belmont Library.

People of all ages gathered at the Belmont Library to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional celebration held in parts of East Asia, through music.

From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29, the band SAWHARO performed live at the Belmont Library. SAWHARO is located in San Francisco and has performed all over the Bay Area. The band fuses music from various regions such as Japan, Africa, China, Latin America, and Eastern Europe with the sounds of R&B and jazz.

The group uses different instruments, including the trumpet, accordion, bass, guitar, and guzheng. The guzheng is a Chinese string instrument that dates back 2,500 years.

“The instrument is similar to a laying down guitar but more complicated. When it was first created, the guzheng had five strings, but now, it has 21 strings. Once you start plucking it, it sounds like a guitar but has a higher pitch,” said band leader Shura Taylor. “It is complicated but amusing to play.”

The group has been together for almost four years. After about a year of practicing, they first performed in February of 2015.

“It was just for experience, but now we get paid for playing … there’s nothing better than being paid to have fun,” Taylor said.

After their first performance, the band continued to practice and currently performs in libraries, musical events, and public and private events. However, SAWHARO does not have any future plans to do a tour. 

“We did a tour in 2017 where we did nine performances in a month at different libraries. Unfortunately, I have not initiated, nor do I have plans to start a tour. We want to gain experience and a follower base before we start a tour,” Taylor said.

SAWHARO is slowly gaining a following through performing at libraries and music festivals.

Erwan Pal
Shura Taylor (left) and Mark Davis (right) perform a duet for their last song.

“I knew nothing about the Mid-Autumn Festival or the band, so I searched it up and saw them performing at the Belmont Library. I listen to jazz, so this was a change in genre, but I liked it a lot,” said Belmont resident Roy Moore. “Many people don’t know about Asian folk music, but I was influenced by the stories the songs come from. It was also nice to see people of all ages listening to this very talented group.”

Sophomore Lucas McLaren echoes Moore’s sentiment, noting the band’s talent.

“I thought it would be interesting to learn more about different cultures and their music. I would recommend this to others. This band is unrecognized, and it should get more attention,” said sophomore Lucas McLaren.

Through their music, the members of SAWHARO hope to raise awareness about other cultures and festivities outside of the U.S..

“We want to inform people about traditional festivals that most people do not know about. It is exciting to see the faces and curiosity of people as we perform,” Taylor said. “That’s what drives us to continue.”

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