Pushing Boundaries

Pushing Boundaries: Celebrating Asian and Pasifika Experiences Through Music

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Pushing Boundaries is KEXP’s celebration of Asian and Pasifika stories through music, taking place on-air and online throughout the month of May. Follow along as we explore the work of artists from Asia, the Pacific, and the diaspora. From stories that contemplate the differences between appreciation and appropriation in music, to highlights of the work and resilience of our local community.

Artwork by Toka Valu, learn more about the piece titled “Tūtūpakanava” here.

Made possible in part by the Allen Institute.





Pushing Boundaries On-Air Kick-Off

We kicked off the celebration on May 1st; our DJs were joined by co-hosts for a full day of conversation, celebration, and, of course, music! Check out the line-up below, and revisit the day of programming below:


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Host: DJ Miss Ashley
Guest: Sistah T Tufono, a DJ and host of Da Coconut Wireless at KSER-Everett, 90.7 FM, a retired WA State API Commissioner, and a Pasifika community advocate


Host: DJ Gabriel Teodros 
Guests: Rogue Pinay (Seattle-based emcee and cultural worker), Ching-In Chen (poet/author/community organizer), and Thenmozhi Soundararajan (Dalit activist)


Host: DJ Mike Ramos
Guests: Melissa Miranda (founder/owner of Filipino restaurant Musang), Lonnie and Richard from Trichome, and Tuyen Than and Ryan Catabay from C-ID Block Party (an annual, free, grassroots community event designed to bring together local residents, artists, musicians, and cultural stakeholders of all ages to celebrate the next generation under the I-5 freeway on King St, between 8th Ave S and 10th Ave S)


Host: DJ Larry Mizell, Jr.
Guest: Hojo, the alias of Seattle native Allen Huang, a DJ, writer, and booker now based in Taiwan. Hojo started nights like CUSTOMS, JK Pop, JET, City Hunter and more.


Host: DJ Riz Rollins
Guests: Naomi Ishisaka (managing Editor and Social Justice Columnist for the Seattle Times), Tomo Nakayama (Seattle-based artist and a member of KEXP Community Advisory Board)

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Community Groups

In conjunction with Pushing Boundaries, we’re spotlighting local organizations and groups that advocate for Asian and Pasifika communities. Hear their on-air spots throughout the month of May and learn more about how they're making a difference in the community

Learn More


Community Resources

As we celebrate Asian and Pasifika artists in the best way we know how – through music! – explore the many organizations doing life-saving and culture-shaping work for Asian and Pasifika communities in our resources section.

Learn More

Past Sessions

Haley Heynderickx [Bandcamp]
Sasami [Bandcamp]
Mitski [Bandcamp]
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down [Bandcamp]
Kikagaku Moyo [Bandcamp]
Cibo Matto [Web Store]
The Flavr Blue [Bandcamp]
Jay Som [Bandcamp]
Japanese Breakfast [Bandcamp]
Shugo Tokumaru [Bandcamp]
Bo Ningen [Bandcamp]
Tomo Nakayama [Bandcamp]



Designer Toka Valu on the Pushing Boundaries Artwork


"In this piece, I wanted to pay tribute to the many mentors (both alive and those who’ve joined the ancestors) in our lives using pattern motifs and stylistic choices that represent who I am as a proud Tongan and Pasifika person while utilizing thematic points that we share with Asian and Asian American communities. Inspired by the incense burning of many Asian cultures to honor ancestors, I illustrated a burning torch of dried coconut spathes often used by Tongans to celebrate the birthday of the ruling Tongan monarch. The smoke rising from the spathes depicts ancestors whose faces were inspired by those of my own grandparents honoring their contributions to my life. This piece honors the many Pasifika leaders, mentors, and loved ones who championed our families and communities for over 200+ years in these coast Salish territories." 


Toka Value is an indigenous Pacific Islander artist and illustrator based out of Seattle, Washington. You may view his work at www.tokavalu.com.
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