Benny Oyama is a singer, guitarist, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist and troubadour from New York City and based in the vibrant Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His unique blend of Brazilian, jazz, and rock-inflected music emerges from being present to what is presented in his experience - surprising cultural pathways, the wonders of nature, the trauma of the past, and the complexity of meeting the world with mixed identities - all infused with rich melodies, harmony and rhythm.
Benny's mother is Jewish, and his father is Japanese-American and was born and grew up in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan following the imprisonment of his parents, also American citizens of Japanese descent, in an internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas.
Benny has recorded three albums of original material, and has performed around New York City, China, Japan, Brazil, Israel and the US. In 2007, Benny performed for Bastille day celebrations as a guest of the French Consulate, and for private engagements by the Portuguese Embassy in Beijing, China. In the summer of 2012, Benny participated in the festive bênção celebrations in Salvador da Bahia while studying capoeira movement and music under master João Pequeno.
He currently holds the weekly thursday night residency at Injera NYC, the best-kept secret (shh!) for live music in the West Village.
Benny is greatly influenced by Zen buddhist philosophy and practice, Advaita Vedanta, the writings of Krishnamurti, yoga, and capoeira.
Photographer: Jessica Thomas
Musician: Benny Oyama
Location: Bed Stuy, Brooklyn 2016