Ah, Japan! Wonderful culture, food, and so many devoted Indian classical musicians. It's hot sticky summertime in Kyoto, a welcome change from my cold house in Brisbane winter.
I've been here a couple of weeks but until now haven't had a chance to blog. I arrived August 21 and will stay until November 3, during which time I'll be playing concerts around Kansai, Gifu, Nagoya, Tokyo and hopefully Kumamoto in Kyushu!
I spent the first few days in Japan with sitar player Yasuhiro Minamizawa, a very experienced musician who I invited to play in the 2006 Ashu-Babu Memorial Concert in Varanasi.
On the first night we played a little show at Shimi Murasaki ("Purple Stain") in Kyoto city, an alternative arts cafe where we followed an analog synth player and a ukulele player. :-) Unusual setting but I love playing with Minamizawa-san anywhere. He played Raag Puriya Dhanashree.
On the second night we played in Ayabe, a town in the north of Kyoto Prefecture, thanks to my tabla friend Kousuke Matsumoto who organised the concert. The setting was beautiful and the music was very powerful. Raag Marwa was a 1 in a 100 performance - one of those rare moments where everything comes together and the mood is magical. It was followed by Raag Yaman and a Mishra Pilu Dhun.
After the concert we stayed at Kousuke's parents house and discussed the mystical nature of music, the primacy of mood above technicalities and the "moment being the keyhole to god," until late in the night.