A Banjos & Beer Benefit

In 2015, Hiroshima, Japan native Hiroshi Arakawa moved to Raleigh, NC to study English and learn bluegrass. A lifelong fan of the genre, he soon gained a following as a top notch string player. Unfortunately, 2 months ago a car crash took the life of his girlfriend and left him hospitalized and comatose. Having since woken, Arakawa is still healing while also attempting to return his musical skills to what they once were. To assist him with the recovery process, his friends in the local music community rallied, putting together a GoFundMe page and later a benefit show at the downtown Kings Raleigh.

Curtis Elleer on the bar
Durham, NC performing artist Curtis Eller lept atop the bar to play among the crowd.
Curtis Elleer's American Circus
Eller’s “American Circus” act featuring Virginia Scarre (far right) on background vocals.

Initially scheduled during the winter weather weekend of last month, the postponed show commence Friday evening with scheduled performances by North Carolina acts Massive Grass and Hank, Pattie & The Current. Durham, NC recording artist Curtis Eller introduced Arakawa to attendees during his set and the inspiration for the event sheepishly took the stage to a chorus of cheers and a rain of support. Multi-talented artist Virginia Scarre lent more than just background vocals to Eller’s “American Circus” act, gleefully encouraging audience participation in song selection and busting out some snazzy dance moves. All of the talent had their working shoes on and the crowd lent their collective energy, producing a festive affair for an admirable cause.  

If you would like to contribute to Hiroshi’s ongoing recovery costs, please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/hirorecovery .

For more information on Virginia Scarre, please visit http://www.thevaudevillainrevue.com/ & http://www.drsketchy.com/branch/raleigh .

For more information on the show’s performers, please visit




By Lamarr Fowlkes

Lamarr Fowlkes is a Raleigh, NC-based journalist. A former UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Hill, he is currently finishing a B.S. in Information Technology. While continuing to contribute as a writer for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, Lamarr seeks to expand his media coverage beyond the Carolinas.