ECAASU Entertainment : Opening Ceremony

The ECAASU Opening Ceremony will take place on the night of Friday, March 5! Get ready for a night of fun and culture with professional and student groups drawn from all different kinds of Asian tradition. These performers span across a bevy of styles, including comedy, dance, rap, rock, and spoken word.

Magnetic North

Magnetic North hit the ground running in 2003 when emcees Direct and Theresa Vu came together to write a song for an Asian American rally in Berkeley, California. The piece, titled “We Will Not Be Moved”, was an ode to their heritage - a mix of refugee war stories and ruminations about skin color and stereotypes. Direct, the mastermind behind their instrumentals, draws upon his classical roots to create beats heavy on melody and acoustic stylings. He tops off his production with insightful lyrics and a uniquely versatile flow that make his vocals as much an instrument as a message. And then there is T-Vu, a female emcee with no need for the "female" qualifier. A wordsmith of rare caliber and presence - she's known for her precise delivery and no-nonsense rhymes.

Magnetic North is currently working on their next album to be released in spring 2010.

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Taiyo Na

Born, raised and based in New York City, Taiyo Na is an MC, singer, songwriter and producer who has performed nationwide at venues such as Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Knitting Factory and many more. Hailed as “undeniably soul-rootsy” with “storytelling through music at its finest,” his critically acclaimed debut album Love Is Growth (Issilah Productions, 2008) features the song “Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother),” an ImaginAsian Entertainment Original Song Contest Winner. He is also Artistic Director of the monthly Sulu Series at the Bowery Poetry Club and Entertainment Series host for the PBS-syndicated TV show Asian America.

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AJ Rafael

AJ Rafael was born on March 12, 1989 in Los Angeles, CA to Filipino parents. He's from Moreno Valley, CA and went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA from September 2008 to May 2009, leaving due to deciding it wasn't for him. About his career in music he wrote on his YouTube page: "Ever since my father, a great musician and composer, died in 1999, I knew my life was going to be about music from then on."

Other than singing, AJ also plays piano, ukulele, guitar & drums. AJ names his main influences as Boyz II Men, Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, MYMP, The Beatles, Brooke Fraser, John Legend, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, Tristan Prettyman, My American Heart & The Rocket Summer.

Website:  |  Email: ajrafaelmusic@gmail

Hari Kondabolu

According to the Seattle Times, Hari Kondabolu is “a young man reaching for the hand-scalding torch of confrontational comics like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor.” Hari has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and was featured in the 2007 HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

Hari was born and raised in Queens, NY and graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Comparative Politics in 2004. He also earned a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics in 2008.

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Ben Alisuag

“Explosive, enigmatic, his words are piercingly truthful,” raves HBO Def Poetry Co-Producer Kamilah Forbes. Ben Alisuag has a “powerful stage presence that you can’t keep your eyes off.” A native of the Bay Area, Alisuag has been a hurricane of honesty and passion in the spoken word scene since 2005.

A hardcore hip hop aficionado, he was first introduced to spoken word by his current family, the University of Pennsylvania’s performance poetry collective, The Excelano Project. Now, he holds two collegiate championships from the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, where he was named “Best All-Around Bad Ass Poet” and the winner of the “Pull Your Heart Strings” award. He was a part of the championship team at the 2007 Youth Speaks Brave New Voices Poetry Slam (as seen on HBO). Alisuag has shared the stage with the likes of Saul Williams, Anis Mojgani, Mos Def and Beyonce. Most recently, he was featured on national television during the 2009 NAACP Image Awards where he performed an honorary poem for Russell Simmons.


Penn Dhamaka

Dhamaka is the University of Pennsylvania's first and only all-male dance troupe. Created by nine students sharing a passion for dance, Dhamaka combines western and South Asian dance styles, aspiring to present a fresh, unique, and innovative fusion of these cultures. Dhamaka has expanded rapidly in the past few years, culminating in its successes at competitions and showcases at universities along the east coast, and in the performance of its first show, "Jawaani: A Celebration of Youth" in the fall of 2003. With the tremendous success of the show, Dhamaka hopes to reach new and diverse audiences while still maintaining its roots in the Penn and larger Philadelphia community.

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Pan-Asian Dance Troupe

The only dance troupe of its kind at the University of Pennsylvania, the Pan-Asian Dance Troupe seeks to celebrate and educate the community on Pan-Asian culture through traditional, modern and fusion dances, and to establish an organization in which people of all nationalities can learn to express themselves through the art of dance.

The Pan-Asian Dance Troupe performs on campus and in the greater Philadelphia community throughout the year at cultural celebrations and in guest performances for other performing arts groups. Our troupe was formed at the end of the 2000-2001 school year with the merge of a Chinese and a Filipino dance troupe. Since then, our repertoire has grown to encompass dances representing a multitude of ethnicities, including Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Thai. We showcase original pieces choreographed by our dancers that incorporate elements of traditional and modern dance, martial arts, and hip hop.

Through dance, we continue to seek greater diversity and promote the appreciation of all Pan-Asian cultures.

Website: | Email: siweizhou123@gmail

Project D

Project D started out as a group of young talented friends from all different parts of New Jersey. Performers were needed for the Annual Semi-Formal for Ramapo College of New Jersey; therefore, a number of volunteers, organized by Bernie Armendi, came together out of love of dance for the event. The name Project D was discovered by the influence of a Japanese anime that was dedicated to the growing import car culture. The letter “D” represents dedication and devotion to dance. Since the beginning Project D has grown into an incredible family of young inspired dancers and continues to influence young individuals throughout the Tri-State area.

Project D is an ever evolving dance company that entertains, educates, and inspires others through their 'dedication and devotion to dance’. The Project D mission is to motivate and actuate all to embrace their potential, as well as to foster the infinite growth and improvement of its dancers –to teach individuals to move as one.

Website:  |  Email: ms.charmaine@gmail


Since their conception in 2007, afterschoolspecial, has been on the rise in the Hip Hop/alternative rock scene. Influenced by artists such as Linkin Park and Beastie Boys, their electric Hip Hop Infused Rock is truly a live experience. With their highly entertaining and adrenaline pumping performances they've been able to accomplish much in a short amount of time. Their success on stage mirrors their driven work ethic off stage- striving to collaborate with like minded artists in the community. This has led to sharing stages with national acts like Flobots, Far East Movement, and Souls of Mischief, partnerships with Osiris Shoes, One Condom Campaign, and Future Rock Stars of America, and two 2009 San Diego Music Award Nominations (Best Hip Hop Album, Best Hip Hop Act).

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