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Wii Music’s biggest star participating in Trump inauguration (update)

DJ Ravidrums wants to help Make America Great Again

DJ Ravidrums playing Wii Music, E3 2008
DJ Ravidrums in the infamous Wii Music demo from Nintendo’s E3 2008 press briefing.
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

With a week to go until Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, his transition team has finally locked in a group of guests for the inauguration proceedings. Among the participants is a figure whom video game fans will never be able to forget: the musician known as DJ Ravidrums.

The drummer and DJ, whose real name is Ravi Jakhotia, will appear at the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.” The Welcome Celebration is a concert that will take place at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration itself. President-elect Trump will speak at the concert, and performers slated to appear along with Ravidrums include country musician Toby Keith, actor Jon Voight and the band 3 Doors Down.

Trump’s Welcome Celebration will be preceded by “Voices of the People,” an event that will feature organizations and performing groups such as the Republican Hindu Coalition, King’s Academy Honor Choir, and DC Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. Both events will be broadcast live on television.

Ravidrums says on his website that he invented “live re-mix,” the process of mixing live drum playing with DJ-ing. His career includes performances at red-carpet events for Michael Jordan, HBO and Fox, and at the Super Bowl XLII pregame show in 2008. But he gained renown across the internet later that year for a much more infamous performance: playing Wii Music on stage at Nintendo’s E3 press briefing.

Although the game had debuted at E3 2006, when Nintendo unveiled the Wii, Ravidrums reintroduced the world to Wii Music two years later with a drum solo that was was more flailing than whaling. No one has ever felt more cool while looking less cool than this:

Or sounding less cool than this:

Shortly afterward, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto introduced Ravidrums as a professional drummer who would demonstrate the musical bona fides of Wii Music. Ravidrums used the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller in tandem with a Wii Balance Board — for foot pedals — in a mode that Miyamoto described as a “complete drum simulator.” Miyamoto and other Nintendo personnel joined Ravidrums on stage for a ponderous performance of the Super Mario Bros. theme:

Eight and a half years later, both Ravidrums and Nintendo are somehow still making headlines on the same day, just for wildly different reasons.

Update: A previous version of this story said the singer Jennifer Holliday would perform at the inauguration. She has since withdrawn.

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