By: Shandra Back
As people file into the First Church of Boston on Thursday night, they aren’t here for church, but
they are expecting a spiritual experience.
The Yaima Music Project, based in Seattle Washington, has finally graced the city of Boston for
their tenth anniversary tour: Moongate. The duo, Multi-Instrumentalist and Producer Masaru
Higasa and Vocalist Pepper Proud, distinguish their sound as “Cascadian Folktronic.”
A steady stream slips into the space through a portal that looks suspiciously like a door.
Following feet forward, the room gulps onlookers into a swirl of purple heat.
A woman glances back at the bouncer.
“Are we going to dance tonight?” she asks.
He takes her eyes in a smile and says, “Oh yes, for sure.”
As people fill the space, their faces don’t meld together into an anonymous crowd. They remain
distinct, weaving and hugging friends known or new.
The intimate crowd grows tighter and people find their seats in the few rows in back. Many
choose a plot on the expansive floor, jackets becoming bedding and shoes laid gently at the
The looming organs stare down, but tonight isn’t their night.
Michael Hewett, guitarist of genres ranging from progressive metal to Spanish classical, strolls
out on stage, long hair flowing in an unruly yet kempt fashion.
“I have to say, I’m tripping in this space,” he says, taking in the pulsating purple. “It’s so magical
As his barefoot toes control the soundboard, Hewettt’s fingers pluck flamencos and sonatas.
The looping reverberations sync with his movements, yet the sound seems to have no source.
Its origin, a blanket.
After Hewett finishes, he descends the three steps dividing crowd from performer and the
barrier dissolves and unites.
During the break, Higasa and Proud walk out into the stage space and a curious anticipation
rises from their presence.
Higasa touches sound and thus begins an ascending drone.
Left hand in the air, Proud brings the attention up to her fingertips. And as her arm movements
elongate into the body, it becomes apparent that she wants fluidity. The crowd, composed of
individuals, soaks in her gentle request.
Slowly the bubbles begin to rise.
Proud, bringing a cease to the curiosity, exhales her vocal cords.
In an instant, honey coats the walls of the darkened space. It seeps in through bare feet. An
inhalation and it has coated everyone’s insides, like a warm tea, bringing in health and vitality.
“Move freely if you feel it,” she says.
And we do.
Throughout some of their most popular songs like Force and Rise, fans must know every word,
yet instead of singing along, they express the lyrics through movement. Each bubble inhales the
energy in a different form. Yet the space is coursing with fluidity. Limbs responding to each
pulsation of sound.
Seconds become the length of sound as they move to the next. And the crowd seems shocked
when Proud shares that this is the last song of the night.
“Thank you for sharing this moment and this lifetime with us,” Proud says and the duo ties up
the night in an ethereal exhalation.
And then it’s done. No encore. The two stroll offstage the same as they strolled on, leaving
everyone to pull on their jackets, shoes and re-enter the streets of Boston feeling a bit giddily
disoriented as the calm melds again with the city.