Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gifu Sangeet Mela 2008 - the best ever!!!

Every year on the full moon in September or October, santoor player Jimi Miyashita organises the Sangeet Mela in Horado Village, Gifu. This year was the 11th occasion (my 4th time in attendance, 3rd time performing), and pretty much everyone agrees that it was the best ever!!! Everyone played so well. Many congratulations to Jimi-san and all the performers and volunteers.

The Indian classical music and dance community in Japan is really very impressive. It spans several generations and now has a very broad base among younger folks. Gifu Sangeet Mela is the peak event in the community's year, bringing together musicians and dancers to perform together all night, starting 6pm and finishing 6am. The musicians are part of the audience, and most others in the audience are also knowledgeable about Indian classical music, whether as an experienced practitioner or listener or a beginning student. It was really heart warming for me to see early 20s Japanese girls sitting in the front row counting out the taals.

I really hope that some time this kind of event can get started in Australia. I really cannot rave enough about how wonderful it was to have all these great musicians, dancers and Indian music lovers gathering together in a quiet country hall and enjoying all the performances all night until the dawn. Getting praise from other musicians was so rewarding. The community vibe continued when all the musicians and volunteers went to bathe in a local onsen and then gather for drinks and lunch. Jimi-san deserves huge praise for continuing this event for 11 years and giving so much to the Indian music community here in Japan.

(I've put times that the photos were taken so you'll have an idea of how immense this event is. Some of the photos were near the beginning, some the end of a set...)

Saraswati watched over the proceedings

The green room - from left to right: Aki (tamboura), U-Zhaan (tabla), Daya Tomiko and friends (rear - Bharat Natyam), Taro Terahara (bansuri), Daikichi Yoshida (sitar), Yasuhiro Minamizawa (sitar), Mata Prasad Mishra (Kathak dance, tabla), Chie (tamboura), Yuriko Terahara (tamboura)
So wonderful to see all these Indian music folks together!!!

6:24pm Opening ceremony by local Taiko group, 美濃の國高賀山太鼓(洞戸)

6:44pm Mata Prasad Mishra (Varanasi) dancing with the Horado Taiko group

7:13pm Manami Fujiwara (Bharat Natyam dance)

This lad was dancing along with every dancer - I think his mother is a dance student.

8:10pm Opening instrumental performance - Jimi Miyashita (santoor) accompanied by U-ZHAAN (tabla) and Yukiko (tamboura)

9:04pm Atsuko Maeda (Kathak dance)
I will be accompanying Atsuko in 3 concerts in Tokyo in October

Atsuko Maeda's accompanists:
U-ZHAAN (tabla), Taro Terahara (bansuri), Daikichi Yoshida (sitar)

9:56pm Daikichi Yoshida (sitar) accompanied by Mata Prasad Mishra (tabla - Varanasi)

11:30pm Shree (aka Mariko Katsura - Dhrupad vocal) accompanied by Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj), Yuki Kaneko (tamboura)

12:40am Daya Tomiko (Bharat Natyam)

1:19am Koki Yoshida (sitar) accompanied by Shen Flindell (tabla).
Thanks to Akira Io for the photo.

2:03am Sachie Tatsumi (Bharat Natyam dance)

2:14am Satoshi Tatsumi (Bharat Natyam dance)

2:27am Satoshi and Sachie Tatsumi (Bharat Natyam dance)
I am absolute fans of these two and would go so far as to say that Sachie Tatsumi is the best Bharat Natyam dancer I've ever seen. So natural, so touching.

3:11am Jai Bajrang with special guest Mata Prasad Mishra (tabla)
Jai Bajrang is Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj), Takaaki Kuno (ghatam), Yuki Kaneko (violin)

3:26am "Yoshida Brothers" (Daikichi Yoshida and Koki Yoshida - not actually brothers) with U-ZHAAN and Shen.
Thanks to Akira Io for the photo.

4:07am Mata Prasad Mishra (Kathak dance)

4:51am Taro Terahara (bansuri) accompanied by Ayako Ikeda (tabla)
Krishna and his gopis?

5:45am Yasuhiro Minamizawa (sitar) accompanied by Dinesh Chandra (tabla)

6:23am Almost done - will this really be only 15 minutes? The sun is up already...

6:32am Final Bhairavi session: left to right - Dinesh Chandra (tabla), Taro Terahara (bansuri), Jimi Miyashita (santoor), Yasuhiro Minamizawa (sitar), Mata Prasad Mishra (tabla)

I have some video and a few photos of the post-event festivities, which I hope to post in the coming days. Can anyone suggest good free video editing software?
Edit: Video and post-Mela party photos now here.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Kya bhatte!! Wish I was there! Congratulations to all who participated and especially huge kudos to Mr Miyashita for organizing the wonderful occasions!!!

Steve O