Ryan Chartrand

When I first heard about “Tribute,” a concert that will feature music from Japanese animation and video games, I was very doubtful. “It’s just going to be three or four disorganized nerds without talent,” I thought to myself. A recent preview of the group, put together by the Japanese Cultural Exchange, however, convinced me to buy a front-row seat.

I didn’t find three or four nerds. I found nearly 50 extremely talented performers from Cal Poly, Cuesta and all around the community performing some of the most creative and emotional songs to come out of Japan. This isn’t a little get-together; it’s a truly groundbreaking concert that has been in production for the past seven months.

“Where did these people come from?” I kept thinking to myself. It makes you wonder how many other people in this little town are so talented. A Cal Poly English professor, a harpist, an accordion player, a string quartet, several vocalists and a dozen other instrumentalists make up this “motley crew” of passionate individuals,” said “Tribute” producer Angelo Alcid.

“Tribute” also features an impressive assortment of music such as: jazz, folk, blues, opera, rock, classical and multiple ballads from shows like “Cowboy Bebop” that could bring you to tears. Songs from video games such as the “Final Fantasy” series are so diverse and compelling that the composer, Nubou Uematsu, has become a global icon in the music industry. While “Tribute” doesn’t cover any of the popular heavy metal renditions of the “Final Fantasy” series, there are plenty of other styles to enjoy.

The music is so diverse and appealing to all crowds that even the “Tribute” vocal coach, a nun from a local Catholic church, is in love with it. I can’t remember the last time I saw a nun watching anime or playing a video game, so don’t let the source of the music scare you away; “Tribute” really is for anyone in love with music.

Fans of this rapidly growing genre of music will certainly be overjoyed to hear the finale, which will feature over two dozen musicians playing a 15-minute medley of battle themes from “Final Fantasy.” It’s quite a risk and a challenge, but from what I’ve seen, they are somehow pulling it off.

More importantly, however, those who have never heard this genre of music, especially performed live, better be prepared to become addicted. This isn’t a show of bubbly tones and annoying repetition like you might expect; “Tribute” contains brilliant and original composition, performed by surprisingly talented musicians.

“Tribute” will come to the Performing Arts Center as a one-time deal on Saturday at 8 p.m. The tickets range from $12 to $22, which is a low price for what is sure to be an incredible experience.

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